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Author & Former Foreign Secretary, Government of India

Date & Time

Friday Fri, 31 Dec 2021

Location (for BIC Venue, BIC Hybrid and BIC Cafe)

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 071 India
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+91 98865 99675 bic@bangaloreinternationalcentre.org

For decades now, India’s global influence has been greater than China’s in only one sphere: soft power. Yet,  that relative strength too is now at risk of waning, largely because of New Delhi’s own actions — or inactions. The arrows in India’s quiver are many: from its stature as the world’s largest democracy and its immense diversity to the moral authority of M.K. Gandhi’s model of successful non-violent resistance that was adopted by Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and other icons. The addition of yoga, spiritualism, delicious cuisines and Bollywood to this mix has led to the creation of an enviable and powerful cocktail that should be hard to match for an authoritarian State, which, until recently, was inward looking and uneasy with its own ancient traditions. But as Ms Rao points out in her lecture, these advantages would count only if India upholds constitutional values, including human rights and sensitivity towards minorities.

Amb Nirupmama Menon Rao virtually delivered the Second Krishna Bose Memorial lecture which took place in Kolkata on December 26, 2021.

In collaboration with Netaji Research Bureau, Kolkata


Nirupama Menon Rao

Author & Former Foreign Secretary, Government of India

Nirupama Rao is a former Indian Foreign Service officer. She retired as Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, the senior most position in the Foreign Service, being the second woman to occupy the post (2009-2011). She was the first woman spokesperson (2001-02) of the Indian foreign office. She served as India’s first woman High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Sri Lanka (2004-2006) and to the People’s Republic of China (2006-2009). She was Ambassador of India to the United States from 2011 to 2013. In retirement she has been a Senior Visiting Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute at Brown University where she has taught an undergraduate seniors course on “India in the World” and George Ball Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Ambassador Rao was a Fellow at the India-China Institute of The New School, New York in 2016 and a Public Policy Fellow at The Wilson Center, Washington D.C. in 2017. She is now a Global Fellow of The Wilson Center. She was a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow from 2015-2016 and a Practitioner-in-Residence at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy in 2017. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and a Councillor on the World Refugee and MigrationCouncil. She has an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (2012) from Pondicherry University. . She is a staunch believer in the power of social media as an advocacy platform for policy and currently has over 1.3 million followers on Twitter. In 2016, she received the Vanitha Ratna Award from the Government of Kerala. She also received the Fellowship of Peace Award of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Center in Washington D.C in 2018.

Ambassador Rao is a Founder-Trustee with her husband, Sudhakar, of The South Asian Symphony Foundation a not-for-profit Trust which is dedicated to promoting mutual understanding in South Asia through the creation of a South Asian Symphony Orchestra.

Her latest book is ‘The Fractured Himalaya: India Tibet China, 1949 to 1962’, published shortly by Penguin Random House.