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KS Bajpai: Doyen of Indian Foreign Policy passes away at 92

New Delhi: Katyayani Shankar Bajpai, a doyen of Indian foreign policy and one of the key personalities behind burgeoning Indo-US ties passed away on Sunday at the age of 92.

An Indian Foreign Service officer of the 1952 batch of officers Bajpai served as India’s ambassador to the United States, China, and Pakistan at the critical juncture in bilateral relationships.

Being a Political Officer in Sikkim between 1970-1974 Bajpai had an important role to play in the integration of the state into the Indian Union. Earlier in 1966, he accompanied then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to Tashkent for the summit with President Ayub Khan of Pakistan.

Grieving Bajpai’s demise, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted, “Deeply grieved at the passing away of Amb. Shankar Bajpai, mentor and friend. Will be missed by so many of us.”

Following his retirement, he was involved with several academic institutions in USA and was Chairman National Security Advisory Board from 2008 to 2010.

Bajpai was a great believer in Track II diplomacy primarily with the USA and had a significant contribution in Indo-US Track II initiatives launched by Ananta Aspen Centre, a leading public policy body of India. He continued to be consulted informally by the Government of India, particularly on relations with the US.

He was also behind setting up the Delhi Policy Group (DPG). He had an extensive set of contacts and friendships in the US establishment and was knowledgeable about America beyond foreign policy issues. Son of Girija Shankar Bajpai (first Secretary-General of the Ministry of External Affairs), KS Bajai’s two other brothers were also members of the Indian Foreign Service.

At the time of his death he was working on a biography of his father, Girja Shankar Bajpai.

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