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Early life 

Jaishankar was born in New Delhi, India. He is the son of prominent Indian strategic affairs analyst, commentator, and civil servant K. Subrahmanyam.Jaishankar is also the brother of historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam and of Government of India' Rural Development Secretary, S.Vijay Kumar.

He did his schooling from Air Force Central School, New Delhi and is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College at the University of Delhi, and has an M.A. in Political Science and an M.Phil. and PhD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), where he specialised in nuclear diplomacy.


Joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1977, Jaishankar served as third secretary and second secretary in the Indian mission to the Soviet Union in Moscow from 1979 to 1981, where he studied Russian. He returned to New Delhi

where he worked as a special assistant to the diplomat G. Parthasarathi and as under secretary in the America’s division of India's Ministry of External Affairs, dealing with the United States. He was part of the team that resolved the dispute over the supply of U.S. nuclear fuel to the Tarapur Power Stations in India. From 1985 to 1988 he was first secretary at the Indian embassy inWashington D.C.

From 1988 to 1990, he served in Sri Lanka as a political officer and advisor to the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF).From 1990 to 1993, he was Counselor (Commercial) at the Indian mission in Budapest. Returning to New Delhi, he served as Director (East Europe) in the Ministry of External Affairs and as press secretary and speechwriter for President of IndiaShankar Dayal Sharma.

Jaishankar was then Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo from 1996 to 2000.This period saw a downturn in Indo-Japan relations following India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests as well as a recovery after a visit to India by then Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. Jaishankar is reported to have helped introduce future Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh. In 2000, he was appointed India’s ambassador to the Czech Republic.

From 2004 to 2007, Jaishankar was Joint Secretary (Americas) at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. In this capacity, he was involved in negotiating the US-India civil nuclear agreement and improving defence co-operation, including during relief operations following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Jaishankar was also involved with the conclusion of the 2005 New Defense Frameword and the Open Skies Agreement, and he was associated with the launch of the India-US Energy Dialogue, the India-US Economic Dialogue, and the India-US CEO's Forum.In 2006–2007, Jaishankar led the Indian team during the negotiations on the 123 Agreement with the United States. He also represented the Indian government at the Carnegie Endowment International Nonproliferation Conference in June 2007.

Jaishankar was reportedly considered for the post of India’s Foreign Secretary in 2013.

High Commissioner to Singapore

From 2007 to 2009, Jaishankar served as India’s High Commissioner to Singapore. During his tenure, he helped implement the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) that expanded the Indian business presence in that country, and oversaw a defence arrangement by which Singapore keeps some of its military equipment in India on a permanent basis. Jaishankar also promoted the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, and IIMPact ( in Singapore.

Ambassador to China

Jaishankar was India's longest-serving ambassador to China, with a four-and-a-half year term. As Ambassador to Beijing, Jaishankar was involved in improving economic, trade and cultural relations between China and India, and in managing theSino-Indian border dispute. In 2012, he became the first Indian ambassador in ten years to visit Tibet

Jaishankar’s tenure as India’s ambassador to China coincided with several major developments in relations between the two countries.His 2010 briefing to the Indian Cabinet Committee on Security regarding China’s refusal to issue a visa to the head of the Indian army’s Northern Command led to a suspension of Indian defence co-operation with China, before the situation was resolved in April 2011. Also in 2010, Jaishankar negotiated an end to the Chinese policy of issuing stapled visas to Indians from Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2012, in response to Chinese passports showing Arunachal Pradesh andAksai Chin as parts of China, he ordered visas issued to Chinese nationals showing those territories as parts of India.And in May 2013, he negotiated the end of a stand-off resulting from the encampment by China’s People’s Liberation Armyon Ladakh’s Depsang Plains, threatening to cancel Premier Li Keqiang’s scheduled visit to India if Chinese forces did not withdraw - 2013 Daulat Beg Oldi Incident). Jaishankar also briefed the media after the conclusion of Li's visit to New Delhi in May 2013.

Jaishankar advocated deeper Indian co-operation with China as long as India’s "core interests" were respected,and argued for better market access for Indian businesses operating in China on the grounds that more balanced trade was necessary for the bilateral economic relationship to be sustainable.

He was also involved in improving people-to-people contacts between India and China, promoting events that showcased Indian culture in 30 Chinese citiesand concluding an agreement with the Chinese government to introduce Mandarin in Indian schools. In addition, he was also responsible for notable investment deals, such as the $400 million agreement for a Tebian Electric Apparatus plant in Gujarat.

Ambassador to United States

Jaishankar was appointed as India's Ambassador to United States in September 2013. He took charge on December 23, 2013 succeeding Nirupama Rao. He arrived in the United States amid the Devyani Khobragade incident, and was involved in negotiating the Indian diplomat's departure from the United States. On January 29, 2014

Jaishankar addressed the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he argued that "the grand strategy underwriting [India-U.S.] ties is fundamentally sound" but that ties suffered from a "problem of sentiment. On March 10, 2014, he formally presented his credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama at the Oval Office.

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