31 January 2023

The Life of a Career Diplomat

Vinay Mohan Kwatra is India’s 34th Foreign Secretary. He has served various roles in many of India's missions abroad and in the country. He earned a degree in International Relations from the Geneva Graduate Institute in 1992.

A career diplomat, Vinay took charge as India’s new foreign secretary on 1 May 2022 at a time when the external affairs ministry was grappling with a host of challenges.

He previously served at India’s Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Prime Minister's Office as Joint Secretary. He has also served as Minister ofCommerce at the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C. from May 2010 to July 2013.

From July 2013 to October 2015, Vinay headed the Policy Planning & Research Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and later served as the head of the Americas Division in the Foreign Ministry, where he dealt with India's relations with the United States and Canada.

He joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1988, serving as Third Secretary and then Second Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva until 1993. Apart from learning the French language while in Geneva, he handled work relating to specialised UN agencies and the Human Rights Commission.

Vinay then worked as a Desk Officer at Headquarters, where he coordinated with the United Nations, and subsequently found positions in the Diplomatic Missions in South Africa and Uzbekistan between 1993 and 2003.

Then, from 2003 to 2006, he served as Counsellor and later as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India located inBeijing, China.

Vinay’s latest career change happened while India’s External Affairs Ministry grappled with challenges ranging from the nearly two-year-long military standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the fallout over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He will play a key role in multilateral engagements (with India currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council) and will also be engaged in preparations to host the G20 in 2023.