AT A time when India is negotiating its way through a dynamic geopolitical landscape — from the US to China and Pakistan to the Middle East — External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has been entrusted with the task of translating the government’s foreign policy objectives into concrete outcomes.
Five months into his new role, Jaishankar will deliver the 4th Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture Thursday in New Delhi. The Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture was instituted in 2016 by The Express Group to mark 25 years of the passing of its founder.
After the first three RNG Memorial Lectures — Raghuram Rajan, then RBI Governor; Pranab Mukherjee, then President of India; and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, currently the Chief Justice of India — Jaishankar will speak on the topic, “Beyond the Delhi Dogma: Indian Foreign Policy in a Changing World”.
After the lecture, Jaishankar will be in conversation with C Raja Mohan, Contributing Editor, The Indian Express, and Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.
The appointment of Jaishankar in June was the first instance of a Foreign Secretary, who had retired in 2018 after three decades of foreign service, being given the Foreign Minister’s job. Since then, he has emerged as the most articulate voice of India’s foreign policy agenda — and someone who has been able to explain the country’s domestic complexities to an international audience.
Jaishankar is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College at the University of Delhi. He has an MA in Political Science and an M. Phil and Ph.D in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University. A 1977-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, he served in Embassies in Moscow, Colombo, Budapest and Tokyo, as well in the Ministry of External Affairs and the President’s Secretariat.
He was Foreign Secretary from 2015-18, Ambassador to the US from 2013-15, Ambassador to China from 2009-2013, High Commissioner to Singapore from 2007-2009 and Ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2000-2004.
After retirement, he joined the corporate sector and was President - Global Corporate Affairs, at Tata Sons Private Limited, from May 2018. Jaishankar, 64, received the Padma Shri early this year.