I wanted to be a diplomat from very early in my life. My mother had a brother who served in the Ministry of External Affairs . . . and he would bring back lots of books and artifacts from Japan, and that fascinated me as a young girl. And I wanted to be able to travel to see these very—to me—exotic lands.
Nirupama Rao joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973 and in her diplomatic career has served in world capitals including Washington, Beijing, and Moscow.
Her other ambassadorial assignments include Peru, Bolivia, and Sri Lanka, where she was India’s first female High Commissioner.
On completion of her ambassadorial tenure in China—where she was India’s first female Ambassador—she was appointed Foreign Secretary, the highest office in the Indian Foreign Service.