Amitabh Mattoo

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Professor Amitabh Mattoo
Professor Amitabh Mattoo.jpg
Born26 June 1962
ResidenceMelbourne, Australia
OccupationAcademic, public intellectual, strategic thinker, author, columnist
Spouse(s)Ajita Mattoo
ChildrenIshita Vasundhara Mattoo, Vandita Yashodhara Mattoo

Amitabh Mattoo (born 26 June 1962, in Srinagar) is one of India's leading thinkers[1] and writers on international relations. He is Professor of Disarmament Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Honorary Professor of International Relations at the University of Melbourne. He was, till 19 June 2018, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, with the status of a Cabinet Minister.[2]. He also serves as Chairman of the Governing Board of Miranda House, University of Delhi.

Family, early life and education[edit]

Amitabh Mattoo comes from a well known Kashmiri Pandit family of Kashmir, which never left the valley even during the years of conflict. Before the land reforms in Jammu and Kashmir, Mattoo's family was one of the biggest landlords in the state. His grand father, Pandit Raghunath Mattoo was famously known as Jenab Sahib for his generosity and philanthropy, and was Wazir-i-Wazarat and later Governor. His great-grandfather was Pandit Suraj Kak Mattoo who brought up Kashmir Muslim orphans as his own and introduced radical social reforms amongst the Kashmiri Pandits. Mattoo's account of the flight from his flooded home in Srinagar in September 2014 went viral on the web. The poet laureate of Kashmir, Ghulam Ahmed Mehjoor, celebrated Suraj Kak's life in the following verse: "Shed your confrontations; find true love in one another. Look how Suraj Kak nurtured Muslims orphans like his own sons. That is the love to discover in one another"

Mattoo had his early education in Burn Hall School, Srinagar and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He earned a D. Phil in International Relations from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom writing a history of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Mattoo qualified for the Indian Police Service in 1987 through the combined civil service exam but preferred a career in academics.


He has been visiting professor at Stanford University, USA, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been Chairperson of the Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Director & CEO of the Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne. a member of the National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory group to the Prime Minister of India. He has also been a member of the National Security Council’s Advisory Board, member of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Global Strategic Developments, on the Executive Committee and Governing Council, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs and member of the Indian Prime Minister’s High Level Group on Nuclear Disarmament.He also co-chaired the Knowledge Initiative, with the Education Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The Knowledge Initiative was established by the state government to recommend interventions in schools, colleges and institutions of higher learning to make the education system socially relevant and globally competitive. Mattoo has published books on India's nuclear policy[3] and India-Pakistan relations[4] and has written on Kashmir.[5] Mattoo has published ten books and more than 100 research articles (including in journals like Survival[6] and Asian Survey[7]). He writes for Indian newspapers, including The Telegraph and The Hindu and is a commentator on television.[8]

Mattoo became the youngest Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu in November 2002 and continued in this position until December 2008.[9] As a patron of the arts, he was responsible for building a world-class auditorium in Jammu University, which also hosts an art gallery and a museum. Leading artists of India, including Jogen Chaudhary, have donated their work to the gallery. As President of the J&K chapter of SPIC-Macay, he was responsible for the University becoming a centre of culture.

Mattoo's attempts at conflict resolution and peace building(combining theory with practice) have been publicly acclaimed. He was a member of the committee, appointed by the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir in 2008, which negotiated the controversial Amarnath land transfer row, which had led to uprisings in Jammu and Kashmir.[10]

Mattoo has been a leading advocate of reconciliation between Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims and between the people of South Asia. For over a decade, he chaired the Chaophraya Track 2 Dialogue between India and Pakistan, and is regarded as one of the most creative thinkers on conflict resolution and pathways to build sustainable peace in South Asia.

On 3 February 2011, in a meeting with India's Education Minister Kapil Sibal, Mattoo declined to be the Founding Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Jammu – for which he had been selected by a search committee of eminent academics and approved by the President of India – citing personal reasons.[11] Earlier, he was in the shortlist of three for the Vice-Chancellorship of Jawaharlal Nehru University.[12] On 1 March 2011 the University of Melbourne appointed Mattoo as the inaugural director of the Australia India Institute. The chairman of the Institute's Board, University of Melbourne Chancellor the Hon. Alex Chernov AO QC (erstwhile Governor of Victoria) said: “We are delighted to have as Director a person of world renowned academic and administrative calibre such as Professor Mattoo. He has a wealth of experience in areas concerned with university affairs, government and other institutions."[13] Mattoo will also serve as a Professor of International Relations in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. On 26 June 2011, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah made an open offer to noted academician Amitabh Mattoo to return to the state and 'advise us'.[14]

On 21 August 2015, Mattoo was appointed as Advisor to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state.[15]


Recognizing his contribution to education and public life, the President of India honoured Mattoo on the occasion of the Republic Day (2008) with the Padma Shri,[16] one of India's highest civilian awards, the first time a Vice-chancellor in Jammu and Kashmir has been so honoured.[17]

Mattoo was awarded the Qimpro Platinum Standard Award (2008)and was recognised as a National Statesman for his work in the field of education along with Anand Mahindra who was awarded for his leadership in business.[18]

In 2016, Mattoo was awarded a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) by Hindustan University, Tamil Nadu; and in 2018, the Capital Foundation Award as an outstanding Educationist.


  1. ^ "Indian professor Amitabh Mattoo honoured in Australia". timesofindia-economictimes. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  2. ^ Now, JandK (21 August 2015). "Prof. Amitabh Mattoo appointed Advisor to Chief Minister with Cabinet Minister rank".
  3. ^ Mattoo, Amitabh (1 January 1999). India's nuclear deterrent: Pokhran II and beyond. Har-Anand.
  4. ^ Mattoo, Amitabh; Kak, Kapil; Happymon, Jacob (1 December 2007). India and Pakistan Pathways Ahead. Jammu: Knowledge World International. ISBN 9788187966661.
  5. ^ Mattoo, Amitabh (1 July 2003). "India's "potential" endgame in Kashmir". India Review. 2 (3): 14–33. doi:10.1080/14736480412331307062. ISSN 1473-6489.
  6. ^ Mattoo, Amitabh (1 September 1996). "India's nuclear status quo". Survival. 38 (3): 41–57. doi:10.1080/00396339608442861. ISSN 0039-6338.
  7. ^ Ahmed, Samina; Cortright, David; Mattoo, Amitabh (1 August 1998). "Public Opinion and Nuclear Options for South Asia". Asian Survey. 38 (8): 727–744. doi:10.2307/2645580. ISSN 0004-4687. JSTOR 2645580.
  8. ^ "The Telegraph – Calcutta (Kolkata) | Opinion | Securing India". Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Amitabh Mattoo new VC of Jammu Central University". The Hindu. 21 December 2010. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  10. ^ "JK Governor appoints four member panel to end Jammu stalemate". 7 August 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  11. ^ Aarti Dhar (4 February 2011). "Today's Paper / NATIONAL : Amitabh Mattoo declines to take over as Vice-Chancellor". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  12. ^ "New Delhi News : Amitabh Mattoo on short list for JNU V–C". The Hindu. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  13. ^ "Prof Amitabh Mattoo as Director The Australia India Institute". 1 September 2009. Archived from the original on 7 May 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  14. ^ (Greater Service) (28 June 2011). "Amitabh Mattoo welcome back to Kashmir says Omar". Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Prof Amitabh Mattoo appointed Advisor to J-K CM". Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Padma Shri List J&K" (PDF).
  17. ^ "Padma Shri Awardees – Padma Awards – My India, My Pride – Know India: National Portal of India". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  18. ^ "After Ratan Tata, Qimpro Foundation awarded Prof. Amitabh Mattoo Qimpro Platinum Standard 2008 |". 26 November 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2011.