People > Shyam Saran


Amb. Shyam Saran is former Foreign Secretary of India and has served as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Nuclear Affairs and Climate Change. He is currently Member of the Governing Council of the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS) and of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a Trustee at the World Wildlife Fund (India), Life Trustee of India International Centre (IIC) and Member of the Executive Council of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). He has headed the Research and Information System (RIS) for Developing Countries, a prestigious think tank focusing on economic issues (2011-2017) and was Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board under the National Security Council (2013-15). He has recently published a book, How India Sees the World. Amb. Saran was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2011 for his contributions to civil service. In May 2019, he was conferred the Spring Order Gold and Silver Star by the Emperor of Japan for promoting India- Japan relations.

China’s ‘inevitable’ global dominance
30 May 2022

India and China were roughly at the same economic level in 1978, with similar GDP and per capita income. Though China began to grow much faster

Off the Cuff
30 May 2022

In this episode of ThePrint Off The Cuff, author and former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran talks to ThePrint's Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta about his new book, 'How China sees India and the World'

Xi Jinping’s Global Security Initiative
17 May 2022

On April 21, at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward a new Global Security Initiative (GSI). This is the political counterpart to the earlier Global Development Initiative (GDI)

Ex Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran decodes Putin’s Victory Day Speech
09 May 2022

Russian president Vladimir Putin defended his country's invasion of Ukraine on Victory Day in Russia - a day used to commemorate the victory over Nazi Germany after World War II.

India must make the most of the diplomatic attention it’s receiving
02 May 2022

India has witnessed a flurry of diplomatic activity during the past week with a long line of ministers, senior military officers and diplomats from a number of countries

A ‘drop the pin’ event in Chinese politics
25 Apr 2022

When the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its annual Central Economic Work Conference in December last year, the watchword was “stability”.

Don’t lose sight of the Neighborhood
23 Apr 2022

Neighbourhood First” has been a cardinal component of India’s foreign policy. Unless India manages its periphery well in the subcontinent, its pursuit of a more significant role

Violence against Muslims rampant but can India manage the fallout is the question we must ask
20 Apr 2022

The events of the past few weeks fill one with a sense of foreboding. The diversity of our country has been its defining characteristic through the ages. It is threatened with a stifling uniformity.

Indian govt can’t introduce quality reforms because its ignoring these three issues
26 Jan 2022

The key challenge to governance in a modern State is the handling of complexity, which also changes form and colour with rapidity.

Make Governance lean and mean
26 Jan 2022

THE key challenge to governance in a modern State is the handling of complexity, which also changes form and colour with rapidity. Complexity arises

Geopolitics drives Xi’s economic agenda
17 Jan 2022

The Chinese Communist Party (CPC) has a very poor opinion of capitalists, both the home-grown variety and the foreign kind.

If Siachen is back on Indo-Pak agenda, it is good news
15 Jan 2022

In his press conference on January 12, on the eve of Army Day, the Indian Army Chief, General Naravane, reportedly made an intriguing

Not a big Deal
12 Jan 2022

ON January 3, the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, the UK and the US

Coping with Democratic Slide
10 Jan 2022

The US President, Joe Biden, hosted a Summit for Democracy last week in the virtual mode. The summit will kick off a whole year of action

Exploration of Xi Jinping’s Concept of Common Prosperity
05 Jan 2022

This paper explores the concept of Common Prosperity – a notion that has a long history but has acquired contemporary significance in its current interpretation by China’s party and state leader

2022 will Determine Xi’s Political Future
03 Jan 2022

The 20th congress of the Communist party of China is slated to be held towards the latter part of this year.

Communal virus runs riot
29 Dec 2021

The three-day hate fest against the Muslim community, held at Haridwar recently, is only the latest in a series of intemperate and vulgar attacks against minorities

Coping with democratic slide
15 Dec 2021

The US President, Joe Biden, hosted a Summit for Democracy last week in the virtual mode. The summit will kick off a whole year of action for the promotion of democracy

A new road map for Xi’s political future
14 Dec 2021

The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is slated to be held towards the latter part of next year. The Congress will decide whether President Xi Jinping

Nehru was way ahead of his time. Seeing him through a 20/20 lens is wrong
17 Nov 2021

The 132nd birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was observed on 14 November. I say “observed” because it was not celebrated as it should have been.

India can’t turn into another China. It must protect our ‘mother nature’ from danger
03 Nov 2021

The climate change summit in Glasgow is probably the last chance for the assembled leaders of the world to avoid catastrophic

On Kabul, India need not hurry. Let Russia, China, Iran see Pakistan’s control of Taliban
25 Aug 2021

One doubts that Pakistan will be able to manage Afghanistan’s polity and society any more than it can in Pakistan itself. China will then have to think about stepping in.

If India contests China’s Asian dominance, there will be no let-up in tensions: Shyam Saran
11 Aug 2021

Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran says that as long as the power gap between India & China expands, it will be difficult to change the ‘strategic calculus’ driving Beijing’s policies today.

For India, Quad is just one option. US-China meet at Anchorage shows that
24 Mar 2021

China has rejected the US’ ‘rules-based international order’. It will play only by its own rules, and, as the Alaska meet shows, aggressively.

Political drama at Anchorage
24 Mar 2021

The US and China held their first high-level meeting, after the Biden administration took office, at Anchorage on March 18 and 19.The US was represented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NSA Jake Sullivan.

Watch | 'India Seems a Critical Part of Biden's Response to China Threat': Ex Foreign Secretary
11 Mar 2021

Shyam Saran tells Karan Thapar that the US could well be seeing India as a potential ally and bulwark against China’s ambitions and expansionism.

Echo chamber of governance
10 Mar 2021

FOR any modern government, strategic communication is the key to ensuring that it is able to convey to citizens its policies.

Adaptation, not mitigation, should inform India’s climate strategy
06 Mar 2021

Shyam Saran writes: At the climate change negotiation table, India needs to safeguard its interests and enhance its development prospects.

China changes tack
25 Feb 2021

Resets ‘India view’ as Biden’s foreign policy begins to take shape

As Biden shapes a new US policy, China changes tack on ties with India
24 Feb 2021

Biden sees China as more of an economic threat than a security one. The US’ stress on transatlantic alliances reflect this.

India must prioritise returning to the status quo ante on LAC: Shyam Saran
20 Feb 2021

A ‘no man’s land’ in Finger area means troops would not return to positions prior to April 2020, says former foreign secretary

Ladakh Disengagement A Positive Development: Ex-Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran
18 Feb 2021

The process of disengagement between India and China is continuing in a satisfactory pace at the moment, the government says

Indian response in Ladakh quite substantial compared to Doklam, Shyam Saran says
11 Feb 2021

In an interview, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran says re-engaging with Pakistan without giving up India’s interests may help in avoiding a 'two-front war-like' situation. Nayanima Basu

Has China bitten off more than it can chew?
10 Feb 2021

What China did not expect was that India would not confine its response to managing the border dispute

The guessing game begins
10 Feb 2021

Biden spells out foreign policy but does not indicate who are ‘key partners’

China's pursuit of global finance
04 Feb 2021

The swift liberalisation of China's financial market could have unintended consequences for India and the world

India has a good story in terms of climate change action, says ex-diplomat Shyam Saran
30 Jan 2021

Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran says India will likely face questions on its coal consumption, especially from US, at the UN Climate Change Conference this November.

China looked at India under British rule as a teacher — of what not to be
08 Oct 2020

India and China enjoyed more than a thousand years of uninterrupted trade and cultural exchanges during the first millennium CE.

India as Teacher by Negative Example: Chinese Perceptions of India During the British Colonial Period and Their Impact on India China Relations
07 Oct 2020

The history of ancient civilizational links between India and China, including the spread of Buddhist religion and philosophy from India to China, are often cited as the enduring basis for India-China friendship.

China and a New Age of Global Conflict with Shyam Saran, former Indian Foreign Secretary
25 Sep 2020

It isn't just India in Ladakh that China is provoking – and the nature of its provocation isn't just military.

China’s strategy of economic self-reliance, under label of ‘dual circulation’, has been sharpened by pandemic
31 Aug 2020

In a recent statement, President Xi Jinping has said that “dual circulation” is by no means a closed domestic loop and reaffirmed that opening up was a fundamental national policy.

The Interview with Karan Thapar
27 Aug 2020

Continuing Chinese Intrusion Very Worrying, Modi’s Response Took Pressure Off Beijing: Shyam Saran

National Security Conversations
16 Aug 2020

Dr. Happymon Jacob speaks to Amb. Shyam Saran on contemporary Indian Foreign policymaking.

Dealing with ‘Frankenstein’
28 Jul 2020

A dangerous twist in the relations between China and the US

India should monitor ties between China and Iran, but must guard against hasty conclusions
23 Jul 2020

The pursuit of a closer security partnership with the US does not mean that India should follow the US lead on its other important relationships.

Democratic India has an ideological battle to fight with China
08 Jul 2020

The future of democracy in Asia and the world may well be determined by choices India makes.

Understanding the Line of Actual Control with Shyam Saran
02 Jul 2020

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Shyam Saran as they discuss the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the Sino-Indian border. They discuss how the LAC impacts and is impacted by the relationship between New Delhi and Beijing.

India's strategic and security challenges post Galwan | SAM Conversations
25 Jun 2020

C Uday Bhaskar, Amb. Shyam Saran and Admiral Arun Prakash dwell on the nature of the military and politico-diplomatic challenges that New Delhi has to address in context of the India-China faceoff & bloody clashes.

Clash in eastern Ladakh: A historical perspective
21 Jun 2020

Among other things, a crystallisation of our political and security arrangements with countries which share our concerns over China's aggressive posture is required.

Chinese aggression not a coincidence: Shyam Saran
20 Jun 2020

There is no coincidence. China’s assertiveness is based on its judgement that the US, which it considers its chief rival and adversary, is a power in relative decline;

As the LAC heats up, reading China’s playbook
02 Jun 2020

It is aiming to change facts on the ground, incrementally alter the balance of power, and assert its dominance

Former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran On Tension Between India And China Along LAC
27 May 2020

Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran spoke on length about the ongoing tension between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Chinese reaction may be a warning so that India sides with it on Covid, Taiwan, says ex-foreign secy Shyam Saran
24 May 2020

Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran was PM’s Special Envoy,

The Coronavirus Pandemic: Will the pandemic lead to a shift in the global order?
19 May 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis of an unprecedented nature that is reshaping the global order. Countries are grappling to control the spread of the disease by announcing lockdowns and closing borders.

China's digital currency moves
13 May 2020

With pilot runs for a digital yuan underway, its monetary system could well become an exemplar for other countries.

Inner turmoil taking place in China, but change in leadership unlikely
21 Apr 2020

Inner turmoil taking place in China, but change in leadership unlikely

Beijing’s response to Covid underlines that the world needs more democracy, not less
20 Apr 2020

There is no escaping the fact that COVID-19 may not have become a pandemic if China were a democracy with a free flow of information through an independent media and accountable political leadership.

World won’t be the same again
31 Mar 2020

Covid aftermath will reinforce the trend towards a more interventionist State.

A revival of multilateralism, steered by India
25 Mar 2020

A leadership role by India in mobilising world collaboration would be in keeping with its traditional activism globally

Going regional
21 Mar 2020

Covid-19 nudges India to pursue regional cooperation through both SAARC and BIMSTEC

The fall into infamy
13 Mar 2020

India’s image and credibility are taking a beating, and it does matter

Covid-19 is sign of an ecological crisis
09 Mar 2020

Dealing with it as if it were a singular phenomenon occurring in a single domain will not work

Time for a G20 summit on coronavirus
04 Mar 2020

The world is facing a public health and economic crisis, with major implications for global stability.

There is an asymmetry at the heart of India’s complex engagement with the world
02 Mar 2020

India is in the vortex of the multiple transitions the world is going through. We have entered a new decade of its own mix of promise and peril.

A visit like no other
27 Feb 2020

It would be wrong to say there was no substance to Trump's India tour. In fact, the mutual pay-off was significant.

Keep the RCEP option open
10 Feb 2020

By not joining the trading arrangement, India risks becoming a rule taker rather than a rule maker

View: Ominous signs for India as China regains pole position in Myanmar
24 Jan 2020

As an ASEAN country, Myanmar is also India’s gateway to South-East Asia. No Act East policy is possible without Myanmar’s active participation.

With Rajapaksa’s back at helm, past must not shadow India-Lanka ties
30 Nov 2019

Shyam Saran expressed deep disappointment in India’s decision to pull out of the RCEP and underlined that despite similar domestic arguments the decision of the Narsimha Rao government to liberalise the economy in 1991.

India, Nepal must seek mutually acceptable solutions to controversy over new Map
27 Nov 2019

The India-Nepal border is unique in that neither country has allowed a political boundary to interrupt the age-old traffic of people who share ties of kinship, religion and culture.

India’s place in ‘Indo-Pacific’
05 Nov 2019

Our influence is expanding, but the term is devoid of real operational significance.

Balancing the poles
12 Jun 2019

As US-China competion intensifies, India should refrain from taking sides.

Technology will drive the new Cold War
12 Jun 2019

It is now the currency of power - one with ominous implications for India.

A Tough Neighbourhood | Foreign Policy
25 May 2019

The new government must continue to strengthen relations with the United States, Japan, Australia and Southeast Asia as part of countervailing and constraining Chinese power.

How serious is China's economic slowdown?
10 Jan 2019

Losing this engine, which has been shoring up global growth, may be more disruptive than we imagine

Book Review: Francois Bougan: Inside the Mind of Xi Jinping
21 Nov 2018

Mr Xi has introduced major departures from this approach.

India has to balance pressures from U.S., China and Russia
17 Oct 2018

The former Foreign Secretary on the difficult waters in which India must chart its independent strategic trajectory.

Internationalisation of Chinese currency
09 Oct 2018

China, a large importer of Iranian oil, is likely to use its petro-yuan to bypass payment in dollars. This may offer India a possible solution.

Book Review: A God in Exile: The Fourteenth Dalai Lama
14 Sep 2018

Introductory section concludes with a picture of Jawaharlal Nehru with a young Dalai Lama at Teen Murti House in 1964 just before Nehru died

Opting out of RCEP may push India on the margins of Asia
05 Sep 2018

India cannot sustain an expanding political and security role in the Indo-Pacific with a shrinking economic role.

Trade wars are no longer about trade
31 Jul 2018

Trump has created an opportunity for China to make common cause with American allies both in Asia and Europe. But in the long run, India’s relations with China will remain competitive in nature...

With a US-China trade war likely, India must reposition itself as an investment destination
29 May 2018

This will require a major policy overhaul away from the lurch towards populism that is becoming more evident as general elections loom large. .

The Wuhan window
03 May 2018

Modi-Xi summit gives India the chance to expand its diplomatic options in the neighbourhood and beyond.

Enter the Dragon
15 Feb 2018

The domestic political crisis in the Maldives may have created fewer waves in India.

China’s Quest for Global Leadership
31 Jan 2018

This paper analyses the emerging global order where China aspires to be a key player and how handling of these seminal challenges will determine the prospects of its quest for global leadership.

India-Asean ties: A cup half full?
24 Jan 2018

Despite the great strides made, India-Asean relations have not measured up to expectations. There continue to be significant asymmetries in this expanding engagement.

Supply Side Economics with Chinese Characteristics
01 Sep 2017

This paper analyses the supply side economic reforms in China by taking the Third Plenum of the 18th Congress Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held in November 2013 as its starting point.

Doklam Standoff: Develop Good Ties with South Asian Neighbours to Counter China
27 Jul 2017

Just as Beijing has sown discord among Asean members through intimidation and blandishments, it’s trying to do the same in India’s neighbourhood

Book Review
19 Jul 2017

China, US and manifest destinies

The standoff in Doklam
04 Jul 2017

Avoid a slide towards confrontation

Renminbi’s growing global influence
13 Jun 2017

Internationalisation of Chinese currency remains on track despite recent stalling

Trump knocks down Paris pact
03 Jun 2017

America's much-anticipated announcement to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement finally came

In Year Four, Modi’s Foreign Policy Needs Some Course Correction
29 May 2017

The overall strategy underlying Modi’s foreign policy is sound.he challenge going forward must take into account the changed global geopolitical terrain.

Looking China in the eye
22 May 2017

India needs an alternative narrative which contests the inevitability of Chinese hegemony

Democracy, pluralism and cosmopolitanism can put India in a...
09 May 2017

The world is at an inflexion point from which a new order of power could emerge.

India must shape a new world order
04 May 2017

Should try and shape multipolar order with the support of other major powers...

चीन की वैश्विक आर्थिक रणनीतिः एशिया, भारत और विश्व पर असर
15 Oct 2015

OBOR का मक़सद केवल भौतिक मूलढाँचा ही तैयार करना नहीं है, बल्कि यह तो इस पहल का अभिन्न अंग है।

What does China’s Global Economic Strategy mean for Asia, India and the World?
09 Oct 2015

OBOR is not just an economic initiative. It has obvious political and security implications.


Current Positions

    • India’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Indonesia and Nepal
    • High Commissioner to Mauritius
    • Member, ICS Governing Council
    • Member, Board of Trustees, WWF (India)
    • Member, Aspen Group on India-US Relations
    • Member, India-China-US Trilateral, organized by CPR, Brookings and CICIR

Past Positions

    • Chairman, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (2010-2017)
    • Chairman, National Security Advisory Board (till January, 2015)
    • Independent Director, Indian Oil and ONGC (V) (Till June, 2015)
    • Co-Chair, ASEAN-India Eminent Persons’ Group (2010-2012)

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