Munir Butt

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Dr Munir Butt
Dr Sir (honorific)
Personal details
Born (1940-07-10)10 July 1940
British India
Died 20 February 2015(2015-02-20) (aged 74) [1]
Citizenship British
Nationality British


Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Occupation Former Diplomat

Munir Udit Zadu Nehru Butt, CMG (1940–2015) was a former senior British diplomat and academic who was an economic and foreign policy advisor to various British Prime-Ministers.

Early life[edit]

He was educated at St. Paul's School, Darjeeling, The Doon School, Dehra Dun, and Balliol College, Oxford, then gained a doctorate in Political Sciences from the London School of Economics. He also holds qualifications in politics and finance from University College, London[2]


Butt entered the Foreign Service in 1970, having fulfilled the requirement to be a British citizen for ten years before entering Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service. He revealed that he was inspired to join the FCO after hearing British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's Wind of Change speech in 1960. In an interview he also revealed that this speech pushed him into joining the Conservative Party at university. He later rescinded his membership during the administration of Edward Heath, and has since described himself as apathetic, though a voter of Liberal Democrat bent.

Butt spent his summers at university working at various NGOs, including the United Nations, in his native Kashmir. It was there he gained a deep passion for the Kashmir crisis and for South Asia as a whole. He subsequently undertook extensive education about the conflict, and his doctoral thesis was on the region, but the exact subject remains unknown. He was a member of the FCO'S South Asia & Oceania desk from 1971–1989, working in locations including Thailand, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Burma (Myanmar), and it was in this capacity he advised many Heads of Government and senior diplomats. After 1989 he became a special envoy to India and Pakistan with emphasis on inter-country relations and the Kashmir issue.

He is regarded as a world expert on Indian and Pakistani affairs, and was a personal advisor in the region to Prime Ministers James Callahan, Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher, and advised U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.[3] In 1994 he was appointed Senior envoy to Pakistan and India by John Major. The appointment of Butt was contentious at the time, due to claims of conflict of interest, Butt being from the Indian subcontinent. However Butt insisted that he considered himself a British citizen, and that no conflict of interest entered his mind.[4]

His connections and advice were particularly helpful in 1997, when India moved missiles near to the Pakistani border, triggering a diplomatic crisis, during which he was a member of the emergency diplomatic team sent between New Delhi and Islamabad in a display of shuttle diplomacy.

Butt has since retired from politics[5] and is involved in business in the United Kingdom, India and the United States, holding non executive directorships in private companies. He is also a guest lecturer of international relations at the University of Oxford, Georgetown University and University of Geneva[6]