The government on Thursday issued orders appointing Shiv Shankar Menon as the next National Security Adviser (NSA).
Mr. Menon, who retired as Foreign Secretary last year, will be the fourth NSA, succeeding M.K. Narayanan, who has been designated as West Bengal Governor. He will take charge as soon as Mr. Narayanan demits office. Informed sources told The Hindu that this would most likely be on January 23.
The post was created in 1998 to oversee the management of national security, both in the immediate term and long term. First NSA Brajesh Mishra held the position till 2004. He was succeeded by J.N. Dixit, who died in harness in January 2005. Both were former Foreign Secretaries.
Mr. Menon’s grandfather K.P.S. Menon was the country’s first Foreign Secretary. His father P.N. Menon was the Ambassador to Yugoslavia and his uncle, K.P.S. Menon (Jr), envoy to China.
Mr. Menon occupied crucial posts during momentous shifts in the foreign policy. He was the Ambassador in Beijing during the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit, which marked an improvement in bilateral ties. As Foreign Secretary, Mr. Menon quarterbacked India’s successful bid to join the civil nuclear commerce mainstream.
Besides serving in the Ministry of External Affairs here and in Indian missions in Beijing (three stints), Vienna, Tokyo, Tel Aviv and Colombo, he was sent on deputation to the Department of Atomic Energy as Adviser.
A connoisseur of classical music, he is fluent in German and Chinese.
The third paragraph of a report “Menon is next NSA” (January 22, 2010, page 1) said that the first National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra was a former Foreign Secretary. Mr. Mishra was in the Indian Foreign Service but was not a Foreign Secretary.