Shivshankar Menon is new NSA

Shivshankar Menon is new NSA

Shivshankar Menon

60-year-old Menon succeeds M K Narayanan who has been appointed as West Bengal Governor after serving in the key post for five years.

Menon will serve in the rank of Minister of State till further orders, according to a decision of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet. He is expected to take charge of the coveted office on Saturday.

A Masters in History from Delhi University, Menon takes over amid speculation that NSA's role would now be focussed on the country's external relations as internal security would completely be the domain of the Home Ministry.

The 1972-batch IFS officer brings with him vast experience in diplomacy whose highlight was the key role he had played in negotiations for the landmark Indo-US civil nuclear deal that ended India's long isolation in the atomic sector.

Menon had served as Foreign Secretary for about three years before retiring on July 31 last year. Prior to it, he had a crucial three-year stint as the High Commissioner to Pakistan and his tenure saw an upswing in bilateral ties marked by the progress in composite dialogue process.

Menon had earlier served in China, Israel, Austria, Japan and Sri Lanka and was an advisor in the Department of Atomic Energy during the course of his diplomatic career.
His stint as Foreign Secretary was also marked by some controversies towards the start as well as the end of the tenure.

His appointment as Foreign Secretary in 2006 had whipped up a controversy as he superseded at least 14 senior IFS officers some of whom later quit the job.
He again found himself in a controversy towards the end of his tenure as Foreign Secretary over the Indo-Pak Joint Statement issued in Sharm-el Sheikh following talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani in July last year.

The government had come under severe attack from the opposition for allowing inclusion of reference to Balochistan and delinking talks from action against terrorism by Pakistan and Menon was one of the key targets of it.

He had later tried to cool tempers by saying it might have been a case of "bad drafting" but asserted India's interests would not be compromised in any way.
Menon, who had served in the crucial Pakistan division of the External Affairs Ministry for several years, was appointed as high commissioner in Islamabad in 2003 at a time when the relations between the two countries were at a low.

He is credited with playing a stellar role in rejuvenating the relations and lending an impetus to the peace process.

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