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Ashok Sajjanhar

Former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar, a Postgraduate in Physics from Delhi University and a career diplomat, has served as Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia, as also as Secretary/Principal Executive Officer of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, an autonomous Organisation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. He has also held several significant positions in Indian Embassies in Washington, Moscow, Brussels, Geneva, Bangkok, Teheran and Dhaka.

Ambassador Sajjanhar joined the Indian Foreign Service in July 1978 and retired as Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India in July 2012. Prior to joining the Indian Foreign Service, he worked as Staff Officer and Manager in Bank of India for 3 years.

Ambassador Sajjanhar negotiated for India in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and made vital and critical contributions to outcomes in several areas. He was invited to participate as Resource Person and Speaker in several Conferences on the Multilateral Trading System and Doha Round in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Papua New Guinea, Seoul, Geneva, etc.

A keen proponent of Indian culture, he was the Director of Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre in Moscow where he was instrumental in ushering in a new paradigm in cultural diplomacy. Ambassador Sajjanhar held the position of Director, Indian Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi from ’92 to ’94.

Ambassador Sajjanhar was Deputy Chief of Mission as well as Deputy Permanent Representative of India to UN-ESCAP during his assignment in Bangkok from 2000 to 2003. He was an active negotiator in the India-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as well as India-Asean FTA discussions.

The US-India Nuclear Deal was signed by PM Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Bush during Ambassador Sajjanhar's term in Washington in 2005.

Ambassador Sajjanhar was Deputy Chief of Mission to European Union, Belgium and Luxemburg from 2005 to 2007. The EU-India Strategic Partnership as well as negotiations for EU-India Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement were launched during his tenure in Brussels.

Ambassador Sajjanhar was decorated by the Government of Kazakhstan with the Kazakh President’s Medal for “his invaluable contribution and in providing unprecedented impetus” to bilateral ties between the two countries. He was decorated with the National Award by the Government of Latvia for strengthening and expanding bilateral ties and friendship. Both these awards were conferred upon Ambassador Sajjanhar after his retirement from the Government Service. Ambassador Sajjanhar was decorated with the Title of ‘’Ambassador of Peace’’ by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), an Institution in consultative status with the United Nations Organisation, New York

Currently Ambassador Sajjanhar is Honorary President, Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi; Member, Governing Boards of Sanskriti Educational Foundation, Indian Institute of Law and Management, New Delhi; VPM’s Centre for International Relations, Mumbai, and several others.

Ambassador Sajjanhar is an active and prolific writer and commentator on current developments and issues pertaining to Indian foreign policy, national security, national integration, international relations etc. He is a regular Speaker at Conferences and Seminars on above issues in India and other countries. He appears regularly as a Panelist in TV debates and discussions on issues of current national and international relevance and significance.

Ambassador Sajjanhar is fluent in English, Hindi and Russian and has working knowledge of French and Persian. His other interests include reading, music and Indian culture.

His wife Madhu Sajjanhar is an economist and educationist by training, and is a keen painter.

They have a son and a daughter, both of who are keenly interested in and proficient in music.

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Mapping India's Foreign Policy In 2016

The NDA government has every reason to feel satisfied with its performance on the foreign policy front since it came to office. In the coming year, the priorities of the government will be a continuation of the agenda it has pursued over the last 19 months. Here are some opportunities and challenges.
15/01/2016 8:02 AM IST