Amitabh Mattoo

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Professor Amitabh Mattoo
Professor Amitabh Mattoo.jpg
Born 26 June 1962
Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India
Residence Melbourne, Australia
Nationality Indian
Occupation Academic, public intellectual, strategic thinker, author, columnist
Spouse(s) Ajita Mattoo
Children Ishita Vasundhara Mattoo, Vandita Yashodhara Mattoo

Professor Amitabh Mattoo (born 26 June 1962, in Srinagar) is one of India's leading thinkers[1] and writers on international relations. He was, till 19 June 2018, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, with the status of a Cabinet Minister.[2]. Professor Mattoo chairs the Knowledge Initiative, with the Education Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, appointed by the government to recommend interventions in schools, colleges and institutions of higher learning to make the education system socially relevant and global competitive. He is also Honorary Director of the Australia India Institute @Delhi.[3] He also serves, in an honorary capacity, as Chairman of the Governing Board of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi ( the highest NAAC ranked College of which the superstar Amitabh Bachchan is a notable alumnus) . Mattoo has been the chief executive officer & inaugural Director of the Australia India Institute and Professor of International Relations at the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.[4] He is the co-chair of the Australia India Leadership Dialogue.[5] Amitabh Mattoo is widely regarded as an inspiring and innovative builder of institutions and the foremost Indian intellectual seeking to build peace in the South Asian region.

He is on leave from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University where he serves as a Professor of Disarmament Studies at the School of International Studies.[6] Mattoo has been a Member of the National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory group to the Prime Minister of India, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu.[7]

Mattoo has been President of the Indian Association of International Studies. From November 2002 until early December 2008, he was the youngest ever Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu, and the second youngest Vice-Chancellor in the history of modern India. Only Syama Prasad Mookerjee was a younger Vice-Chancellor, when he became VC of Calcutta University in 1934 at the age of 33.[8]

Mattoo serves on the Collegium (and earlier on theGoverning Council) of the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR),[9] the Executive Committee and Governing Council of Pugwash, the Nobel Prize–winning NGO, and is a member of the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well Being.[10] Mattoo has been a member of the Academic Council of Vishwabharti University as well as the Executive Council of the Central University of Karnataka and serves on the Executive Council of the Central University of Jammu. He was appointed a member of India's National Security Council's Advisory Board by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he has been a Director of the India-Afghanistan Foundation (established by the governments of India and Afghanistan) and was a member of the task force constituted by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Global Strategic Developments. The Task Force examined global trends in strategic affairs and their implications for India. His expertise and advice has been sought on matters of national security and foreign policy across parties and governments.

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.

Mattoo has published books on India's nuclear policy[11] and India-Pakistan relations[12] and has written on Kashmir.[13] Mattoo has published ten books and more than 100 research articles (including in journals like Survival[14] and Asian Survey[15]). He writes for Indian newspapers, including The Telegraph and The Hindu and is a commentator on television.[16]

Mattoo became the youngest Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu in November 2002 and continued in this position until December 2008.[17] 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.[18]

Mattoo has been a leading advocate of reconciliation between Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims and between the people of 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.[19] Earlier, he was in the shortlist of three for the Vice-Chancellorship of Jawaharlal Nehru University.[20] The Human Resources Development Ministry, however, took the view that a scientist needed to be the Vice-Chancellor. 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 (now 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."[21] 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'.[22]

On 21 August 2015, Mattoo was appointed as Advisor to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state.[23]


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,[24] one of India's highest civilian awards, the first time a Vice-chancellor in Jammu and Kashmir has been so honoured.[25]

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.[26]

In 2016, Mattoo was awarded a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) by Hindustan University, Tamil Nadu.


  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. ^ "Our Staff". Australia India Institute. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Professor Amitabh Mattoo | Australia India Institute". Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  5. ^ "CECA Talks and Leadership Dialogue Focus of Robb's Visit to India". Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Prof. Amitabh Mattoo". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Separatists silent on Musharraf's memoir". The Tribune. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee". Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  9. ^ "About Us-Members of Governing Body". Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Commissioners | The Lancet Youth". Retrieved 22 October 2015. and serves on the Executive Council of the Central University of Jammu.
  11. ^ Mattoo, Amitabh (1 January 1999). India's nuclear deterrent: Pokhran II and beyond. Har-Anand.
  12. ^ Mattoo, Amitabh; Kak, Kapil; Happymon, Jacob (1 December 2007). India and Pakistan Pathways Ahead. Jammu: Knowledge World International. ISBN 9788187966661.
  13. ^ Mattoo, Amitabh (1 July 2003). "India's "potential" endgame in Kashmir". India Review. 2 (3): 14–33. doi:10.1080/14736480412331307062. ISSN 1473-6489.
  14. ^ Mattoo, Amitabh (1 September 1996). "India's nuclear status quo". Survival. 38 (3): 41–57. doi:10.1080/00396339608442861. ISSN 0039-6338.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "The Telegraph – Calcutta (Kolkata) | Opinion | Securing India". Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Amitabh Mattoo new VC of Jammu Central University". The Hindu. 21 December 2010. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  18. ^ "JK Governor appoints four member panel to end Jammu stalemate". 7 August 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  19. ^ Aarti Dhar (4 February 2011). "Today's Paper / NATIONAL : Amitabh Mattoo declines to take over as Vice-Chancellor". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  20. ^ "New Delhi News : Amitabh Mattoo on short list for JNU V–C". The Hindu. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  21. ^ "Prof Amitabh Mattoo as Director The Australia India Institute". 1 September 2009. Archived from the original on 7 May 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  22. ^ (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.
  23. ^ "Prof Amitabh Mattoo appointed Advisor to J-K CM". Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Padma Shri List J&K" (PDF).
  25. ^ "Padma Shri Awardees – Padma Awards – My India, My Pride – Know India: National Portal of India". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  26. ^ "After Ratan Tata, Qimpro Foundation awarded Prof. Amitabh Mattoo Qimpro Platinum Standard 2008 |". 26 November 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2011.