Shivshankar Menon

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Shivshankar Menon
Msc2011 SZ 004 Menon (cropped).jpg
4th National Security Adviser of India
In office
17 January 2011 – 28 May 2014
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by M K Narayanan
Succeeded by Ajit Kumar Doval
Foreign Secretary of India
In office
1 October 2006 – 31 July 2009
Preceded by Shyam Saran
Succeeded by Nirupama Rao
Personal details
Born (1949-07-05) 5 July 1949 (age 68)
Ottapalam, Madras State, Dominion of India (now Kerala, India)
Residence New Delhi, India
Occupation Diplomat, civil servant

Shivshankar Menon (born 5 July 1949) is an Indian diplomat, who served as National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He had previously served as the Foreign Secretary, the top diplomat in India. Prior to that he was Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and ambassador to China and Israel.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Shivshankar Menon hails from Ottapalam in Palakkad district of Kerala. He comes from a family of diplomats; his father Parappil Narayana Menon served as the ambassador to Yugoslavia in his last days. His grandfather K. P. S. Menon (senior) was India's first Foreign Secretary, while his uncle K P S Menon (junior) was the former Indian ambassador to China.[2] His great-grandfather Sir C Sankaran Nair was a president of the Indian National Congress in 1897.

Menon did his schooling from Scindia School, Gwalior, and later did his MA in History from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University.


Menon started his career in 1972 with the Indian Foreign Service.[1]

He served the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) as Advisor to the Atomic Energy Commission. This work continued through his posting in Vienna. He was then posted to Beijing, the first of three positions he served in China. His last position in China as ambassador was also significant as it marked improvement in Sino-India relations, the high point being the visit of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Menon has also served as Ambassador to Israel and High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Pakistan. He was appointed Foreign Secretary in 2006, and was the National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He relinquished office as National Security Adviser on 15 May 2014.

A major milestone of his career was the Indo-US nuclear deal, for which he worked hard to convince NSG nations to get a clean waiver for nuclear supplies to India.

Shivshankar Menon joined the Brookings Institution (USA) as a distinguished fellow and also serves as chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Mohini Menon and has a daughter and a son. His mother tongue is Malayalam and he also speaks Hindi, English, Chinese and German.[1]

In spite of his busy schedule in the Indian Foreign Service he has managed to keep up with his interests in classical music and the Himalayas. The Scindia School conferred on Shivshankar Menon the "Madhav Award" as an alumnus of eminence for the year 2000.[4]