Rakesh Sood

Distinguished Fellow

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Ambassador Rakesh Sood is a Distinguished Fellow at ORF. He has over 38 years of experience in the field of foreign affairs, economic diplomacy and international security issues.

Ambassador Sood is a post graduate in physics and in economics and defence studies.

Before joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1976, he worked for a couple of years in the private sector. He initially served in the Indian missions in Brussels, Dakar, Geneva and Islamabad in different capacities and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, later in his career. He set up the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division in the Foreign Ministry, which he led for eight years till the end of 2000.

During this period, Ambassador Sood was in charge of multilateral disarmament negotiations, bilateral dialogues with Pakistan, strategic dialogues with other countries, including the US, UK, France and Israel (especially after the nuclear tests in 1998), and dealt with India’s role in the ASEAN Regional Forum, as part of the 'Look East' policy.

He then served as India’s first Ambassador — Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva. He also chaired a number of international working groups, including those relating to negotiations on landmines and cluster munitions and was a member of UN Secretary General’s Disarmament Advisory Board from 2002 to 2003.

Since his retirement, he has been writing and commenting regularly in both print and audio visual media on India’s foreign policy, its economic dimensions and regional and international security issues. He is a frequent speaker and contributor at various policy planning groups and reputed think tanks in India and overseas.

Past Position(s)

  • Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for Disarmament and Non-proliferation Issues from 2013 to 2014
  • Indian Ambassador to France from 2011 to March 2013
  • Indian Ambassador to Nepal from 2008 to 2011
  • Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2005 to 2008