Early life 

A. P. Venkateswaran comes from a Tamil Brahmin family with roots in a small Palakkadu hamlet of Ayilam, in the south Indian state of Kerala. His father, A. S. Panchapakesa Ayyar was a former Madras High Court judge turned civil servant and Venkateswaran was born at Brahmapur, while his father was staying in Odisha with his mother, Vedanayaki Ammal.

Venkateswaran was good at studies and he secured three post graduate degrees in Science, Economics, and Political Science from the Madras Christian College before joining Indian Foreign Service on 2 April 1952, at the age of 22.After joining the service, Venkateswaran continued his studies at Oxford on Intrnational Law (1952–53) and at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London (1953–54).

Venkateswaran was a Fellow of the Center for Industrial Affairs at Harvard University from 1974 to 1975. He has also written several articles on international politics in journals and magazines



Venkateswaran has served in the Indian foreign offices across the globe, except in South American continent,and was the Indian Ambassador in the US, China and Syria. After his Embassy stints, he served as the Indian representative in the United Nations before returning to India, in 1986, when he was made the Foreign Secretary of India, the highest job in theIndian Foreign Service, during Rajiv Gandhi's term as the Prime Minister of India.

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Office Position Tenure
Embassy in Prague Officer 1955–1957
New York Consulate Consul 1957–1959
Embassy – Addis Ababa Secretary of Legation – First Class 1959–1962
Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi Deputy Secretary 1962–1964
Embassy – Moscow Secretary of Legation – First Class 1964–1967
Consulate – Bonn Consul 1967–1969
Indian High Commission – Fiji High Commissioner 1969–1971
Center for Industrial Affairs – Harvard University Fellow 1974–1975
Embassy – Washington DC Ambassador 1975–1976
Embassy – Damascus Ambassador 1976–1977
United Nations Representative 1980–1982
Embassy – Beijing Ambassador 1982–1986
Government of India Foreign Secretary 1986–1987

Venkateswaran resigned from Indian Government service in 1987 after which he founded Asia Centre, a think tank of diplomats and intellectuals, based in Bangalore.

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