Hyderabad: When, K Nagaraj Naidu, India’s deputy ambassador to United Nations was selected to be the Chef de Cabinet of the President elect of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), it was a proud moment for Nizam College and Hyderabad.
The 1998 batch IFS officer was chosen by the UNGA President, Abdulla Shahid from Maldives personally. It will be for the first time that an Indian diplomat has been selected for the post too. His tenure will be for one year.
On June 10, the Maldives Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdulla Shahid announced that Thilmeeza Hussain, a Maldives diplomat will be his special envoy and Nagaraj Naidu, the chef du Cabinet for the President of the 76th session of UN General Assembly (PGA). Incidentally, it’s the first time that Maldives was occupying the important position.
Nagaraj Naidu did his schooling from St Patrick’s High School, Secunderabad in 1990 and graduated from Nizam College in Arts in 1995. He went on to qualify for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1998. Later he did his master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA in 2008.
He was the second-in-command at India’s permanent mission to the UN, New York in 2019, when the Indian team led by Syed Akbaruddin (1985 batch of IFS), put up an impressive performance in effectively blunting moves by Pakistan and China to internationalise the Abrogation of Article 370 relating to Jammu & Kashmir and controversial issues surrounding terrorism.
Incidentally, Akbaruddin, who retired as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in April 2020, is also an alumnus of Nizam College, graduating with a BA degree in 1980. He has recently taken over as the Dean, Kautilya Institute of Public Policy, run by the GITAM University in Hyderabad.
Interestingly another career diplomat from Hyderabad who is also in the news is India’s Ambassador to Russia, Mr Bala Venkatesh Verma. Coincidentally, he too did his graduation in Arts from the Nizam College of the 1982 batch.
When the negotiations for the Sputnik V vaccine were on and the historic flight from Moscow carrying the vaccine to protect from COVID-19 landed in the Hyderabad Airport on May 1, he played an active role. Dr Reddy’s Labs, the Pharma major is importing and also manufacturing the vaccine in the city. In January, he was quoted as saying that he received the first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine and feels well.
Bala Venkatesh, the 1988 batch IFS officer, did his Masters in International studies from JNU. He held many important positions, including Director in the PMO of Dr Manmohan Singh and Ambassador and Permanent representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva.
Nagaraj Naidu, has been working as deputy permanent representative since January 2019. He spoke on Jammu and Kashmir in the UN in June, 2018 and made India’s stand that J&K is an integral and inevitable part of India clear.
Interestingly, Nagaraj has specialised on China with four postings at the Indian Embassy holding various responsibilities over 11 years of the past two decades of his career. His last posting was the Consul General at the Indian Consulate in Guangzhou, China from 2013 to 2015.
Nagaraj speaks good Chinese
As the National Coordinator for establishing the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in India, Nagaraj played a key role. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had announced India’s participation in the ISA in a big way at the COP 21 Summit in Paris in 2016. The ISA is registered with the UN as an international inter-governmental treaty based organisation with headquarters in India. It has over a 100 members now.
After his return to the Foreign Ministry in New Delhi, Nagaraj served as the Joint Secretary/Director General of the Economic Diplomacy Division in the Ministry of External Affairs from 2015 to 2017. During his term, the Economic Diplomacy Division was given the “SKOCH Platinum First Prize for Smart Governance” in 2017.
Nagaraj took an active part in the GES 2017 Summit held in Hyderabad, where a large delegation of American and Indian businessmen participated with Ivanka Trump, herself a business person and daughter of President Donald Trump sharing the dais with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
At the peak of the popularity of the Aamir Khan movie Dangal, Nagaraj posted in 2017 that the Hindi blockbuster was the first Indian movie to gross RMB 1 billion ( $145m or Rs 965 cr) on the Chinese box office. This is historic, he said.
Somasekhar Mulugu, former Associate Editor & Chief of Bureau of The Hindu BusinessLine, is a well-known political, business and science writer and analyst based in Hyderabad