President Pratibha Patil in her capacity as Visitor of all central universities on Monday approved the appointment of Amitabh Mattoo as the first Vice Chancellor of the Central University at Jammu. On the other hand Sudhir Kumar Sopory, a senior scientist in molecular biology at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, is all set to take over as Vice Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Professor Mattoo's name had been pending for the Visitor's final approval for the past six months as there was opposition to his appointment from some quarters in Jammu. Amitabh Mattoo is currently professor of Disarmament studies at the Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD), School of International Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
A Padma Shri winner, Prof. Mattoo's teaching and research interests include issues of international security, India's foreign policy, and arms control and disarmament. Mattoo has been a visiting professor at the Centre for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Studies, the University of Notre Dame, and at the Program on Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at the Maison des Sciences de'Lomme at Paris. He has published ten books (on nuclear issues, foreign policy and international relations), and more than fifty research articles (including in leading journals like Survival and Asian Survey).
Prof. Mattoo was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu from November 2002 until December 2008. He was the youngest person to serve in that position. He concurrently served as a member of the National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory group to the Prime Minister of India.
A member of the governing council of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, the Nobel Prize winning non-governmental organisation which campaigns for global disarmament, Prof. Mattoo has been a member of India's National Security Council's Advisory Board and was also a member of the task force constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Global Strategic Developments. The Task Force examined various aspects of global trends in strategic affairs and their implications for India.
Sudhir Kumar Sopory, who had taught at the JNU some years ago, competed with Prof. Mattoo, Deepak Nayyar, former VC of the Delhi University who now teaches economics at the JNU, and R. Ramaswamy from the Department of Physical Sciences also at the JNU, for the top post at the prestigious university.