Shamma Jain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Shamma Jain
Shamma Jain.jpg
Indian Ambassador to Panama
Assumed office
28 March 2014
Indian Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire
In office
August 2008 – August 2011
Personal details
Born (1959-09-10) 10 September 1959 (age 57)
Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir
Nationality Indian
Children One son
Profession Diplomat

Shamma Jain (born 10 September 1959) is an Indian diplomat, serving as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.[1] She was India's Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea from 2008 to 2011.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Shamma Jain was born in Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir. She was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal for B.A. in Political Science at University of Jammu. She received double master's degrees in Philosophy and Politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.[3] She was the recipient of the prestigious UGC Fellowship.


Jain began her diplomatic career with the Indian Foreign Service in 1983.[4] Prior to being appointed as the Indian Ambassador to Panama, she headed the Counter Terrorism Division, overseeing all matters related to counter terrorism diplomacy, and the Policy Planning & Research Division at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.[5] Ambassador Jain also served as the Joint Secretary of the Indian Council of World Affairs, India's oldest foreign policy think tank.[6]

Ambassador Shamma Jain (second from right) on the occasion of International Day of Non-Violence in Rome, Italy

Jain used to be the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India in Rome, Italy.[7] She also served as First Secretary of the Indian Delegation to UNESCO in Paris, and as Political Counselor at the Embassy of India, Washington, D.C. from 1997 to 2001, where she was responsible for bilateral political and strategic ties between the United States and India.[8]

From 2003 to 2005, she served as the Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d'Affaires in Manila, Philippines.[9] Prior to this, she was the Director of SAARC with responsibility for advancing India's policy agenda in the South Asia region. Ambassador Jain has also held diplomatic assignments in Turkey and Argentina.

Jain was the 2009 Commencement speaker at the University of Liberia, where she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).[10] She also served as the commencement speaker for the British Institute of Management and Technology's 2009 graduating class. She has one son, Ishan.

Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire[edit]

Jain was appointed as the Indian Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire, with concurrent accreditation to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea in August 2008. During her tenure, there was a dramatic increase in commercial, trade and cultural ties between West Africa and India. These closer economic links have provided the impetus for India's trade with West Africa to grow to $40 billion by 2015.[11]

She led India's efforts to deepen engagement with West Africa through intensifying relations with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and enhancing co-operation in the area of oil and gas, education, pharmaceuticals, mining and infrastructure. As India's ambassador to Ivory Coast, she argued that capacity building is a major thrust of India's development co-operation with Africa. She advocated for the establishment of over a hundred professional training institutes across Africa, for which India allocated $700 million.[11] Along with the former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, she was responsible for gaining Liberian support for a permanent seat for India on the UN Security Council.[12]

In February 2010, Ambassador Jain and Indian Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi met with a car accident during their diplomatic visit to Liberia. This occurred when a speeding driver rammed into their car in Monrovia. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf went to the scene of the accident and arranged for them to be airlifted to Abidjan, Ivory Coast for further medical treatment.[13]

Ivorian civil war[edit]

Despite facing grave danger, Shamma Jain oversaw the evacuation of Indian nationals in Ivory Coast who were caught in the Second Ivorian Civil War in March 2011.[14] This coincided with India voting in the UN Security Council for sanctions against Laurent Gbagbo and close aides.[15] Amidst heavy gunfire and explosions in the diplomatic area where her residence was located, Ambassador Jain remained in Abidjan to ensure the evacuation of several hundred members of the Indian community.

On 8 April 2011, Jain had to be evacuated by French troops when her residence in Cocody, Abidjan was attacked by armed mercenaries. She had been trapped in her house, which was adjacent to Gbagbo's besieged presidential compound. This area witnessed the heaviest fighting in the capital between the opposing forces of incumbent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. After many hours of being holed up in her residence, Ambassador Jain was safely evacuated in a daring operation by UN and French forces to a French military base outside Abidjan.[15]


  1. ^ "CII Interactive Session". Confederation of Indian Industry. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Embassy of India in Ivory Coast". Ministry of External Affairs. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  3. ^ "Center for African Studies" (PDF). JNU. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Shamma Jain appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Panama". Ministry of External Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "MEA Organization" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "MEA Moves its Men, Post-Haste". Indian Express. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Shamma Jain appointed next Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire". UNI. 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008. 
  8. ^ "Conseil Exécutif – 140th Session" (PDF). UNESCO. Retrieved 22 September 2008. 
  9. ^ "ASEAN Regional Forum on Counter-Terrorism" (PDF). ASEAN. 2008. Retrieved 5 October 2008. 
  10. ^ "Liberia: UL Releases Itinerary For Its 87th Graduation Indian Envoy To Serve As Commencement Speaker". 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "Government initiatives aiding India-West Africa trade surge". Business Standard. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Visiting Indian Minister of State and Liberian President Hold Bilateral Talks". Government of Liberia. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Ravi to be discharged from Cote d'Ivoire hospital in few days". Zee News. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "66 Indians evacuated from Cote d'Ivoire". Yahoo News. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "UN forces rescue Indian envoy to Ivory Coast". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 15 May 2014.