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|Born||1 August 1934|
|Organization||Indian Administrative Service|
|Known for||Indian Ambassador|
Naresh Chandra (born 1 August 1934 in Allahabad) is an Indian Civil Servant who has served as the Cabinet Secretary (1990–92), and the Indian Ambassador to the US (1996–2001). He was awarded India's second highest civil awards, the Padma Vibhushan, for his service in 2007.
Between 1965 and 1973, Naresh Chandra's served under Central Government of India as 'Deputy Secretary, Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation', 'Deputy Secretary, Administrative Reforms Commission', 'Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs' and 'Director, Third Central Pay Commission'.
Between 1973 and 1977, he was appointed as the Secretary, Industry and Mines Department, Government of Rajasthan and the Chairman, Rajasthan Electricity Board. He was posted as Joint Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Government of India in 1977, the assignment he held till 1981. That year he was appointed in the Commonwealth Secretariat as Adviser on export Industrialization and Policy, Colombo, Sri Lanka, a post he held up to May, 1984. In July, 1984, he took over as Finance Secretary, Government of Rajasthan and in July 1985, Shri Naresh Chandra became Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan.
He was also Adviser to the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir in 1986 for a period of 8 months. During 1987 to 1989, he served as Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India. He worked as Defence Secretary from February 1989 to March 1990 and from March 1990 to December 1990 as Union Home Secretary, Government of India. In December 1990 he became the Cabinet Secretary, Government of India which post he held till July 1992. Thereafter, in August 1992, he was appointed as Senior Adviser to Prime Minister. Naresh Chandra took over as the Governor of Gujarat on 1 July 1995 and continued till 29.02.1996.
Ambassador Chandra's long official association with the United States spans more than three decades, beginning with his first visit to this country in 1963-64. He has been the Indian Co-chairman of the US-India Technology Group, and Member of the Indo-US Economic Sub-Commission, which lent him valuable insight into the broad range of Indo-US relations. Following the economic liberalisation program in India, he led the first official delegation to the US in 1992 to promote US investments in India. He has been deeply involved in several important conferences organised subsequently in the US by business development groups.
His work in his words
‘Living in interesting times’ is how I would describe my tenure here. Something or the other has always been happening. There was a lot of interaction on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty when I first arrived here. 1997 was a ‘feel good’ time – we were celebrating 50 years of Independence - there were series of functions and events – in fact we had more functions in the U.S. than in India. The major challenge came in May 1998 - dealing with the nuclear test. I remember going from one studio to another – TV, radio, and press – in addition to dozens of meetings in the Senate and the Congress. That was the most difficult and a very challenging period of my tenure here. Then began the rounds of discussions between Indian delegation, led by Jaswant Singh, and the U.S. delegation led by Talbot. I was present in every meeting and throughout. We saw the scene develop from a very tense dialogue into a very friendly and frank exchange of views. This brought about stability and progress in a positive direction in our relations with the U.S.
The Prime Minister’s visit in September 1998 was also an important one. It dissipated the demonising of India that had gone on before his arrival. People saw him and heard him speak. His statement that "India and the U.S. can be natural allies in the 21st century" struck a chord in the U.S. administration. President Clinton’s visit to India and then the return visit of the Indian Prime Minister put a feel on it. I witnessed a very fine chapter in the Indo-U.S. relations.
A specific instance that I will remember of my tenure, is the establishment of Gandhi Memorial - Mahatma Gandhi’s statue – in front of our Chancery building in Washington DC – and the way it was accomplished against heavy odds. We were able to have it up just in time to have it dedicated by the Prime Minister of India in the presence of the president of the United States on 16 September 2000. It was a great moment – for South Asians and Americans. I also received many messages from our friends in Pakistan – and the Pakistan Ambassador congratulated me and expressed her happiness at the establishment of the statue.
Awards and recognition
- He was conferred Padma Vibhushan award in 2007.
- "Naresh Chandra". International Crisis Group. Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
- "Padma Vibhushan for Nariman, Khushwant, Naresh Chandra". Indian Express 26 January 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
- "Mr. Naresh Chandra". The South Asian. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
Siddhartha Shankar Ray
|Indian Ambassador to the United States