Born on October 7, 1961.
Venkatesh Varma earned a Master’s degree in International Relations (Disarmament Studies) at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He has a Master’s degree in Philosophy. From 1988 to 2021, he was a Member of the Indian Foreign Service. During his diplomatic career, he worked in the Ministry of External Affairs, in the Office of External Affairs Minister and in the Prime Minister’s Office. In 2017–2018, Venkatesh Varma served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Kingdom of Spain. In 2018–2021, he was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Russian Federation.
Venkatesh Varma has vast experience in India’s Security and Defence policies, including its nuclear, missile, and space programs. He has more than 12 years of experience in the field of multilateral nonproliferation and disarmament — nuclear, chemical, biological and conventional weapons. In 1998–1999, 2003–2005 and 2008–2016, he was a Member of the Indian delegation to the UN General Assembly. In 2010–2013, he served as Joint Secretary for Disarmament and International Security in the Ministry of External Affairs of India. In 2013–2016, he was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Republic of India to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. Venkatesh Varma was a Member of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Missiles and on Disarmament and Nuclear Nonproliferation Education. He attended 9 sessions of the UN General Assembly First Committee and 7 sessions of the UN Disarmament Commission.
In 2004–2007, as Director in the Prime Minister’s Office and part of the Indian Delegation, he participated in all stages of negotiations on the Civil Nuclear Initiative with the United States: in the bilateral negotiations with the US, including the 123 Agreement; negotiations with the Nuclear Suppliers Group; and negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Venkatesh Varma has vast experience with respect to India’s Civil Nuclear Programme. In 2010–2013, he was key member of the Indian delegation to the Nuclear Security Summits. In 2011, Venkatesh Varma became the first Recipient of the S.K. Singh Award for Excellence in the Indian Foreign Service for his contribution to the negotiations of the Civil Nuclear Initiative.
Venkatesh Varma held three different positions at the Indian Embassy in Moscow. In 1990–1992, he served as Third and Second Secretary of the Political Department of the Indian Embassy in Moscow. In 2000–2003, he was the First Secretary and Advisor in the Political Department of the Indian Embassy in Moscow. As Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Russian Federation (2018–2021), he made a direct contribution to the development of relations between India and Russia. He participated in the implementation of the Indian Prime Minister Modi’s Act Far East Initiative, and also contributed to the deepening of defense, nuclear, space, energy, commercial, scientific, technical and cultural relations of India with Russia. He spoke at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
Venkatesh Varma has spoken at numerous think-tanks in Geneva, Washington, D.C., New York, Monterey, Vienna, Brussels, London, Melbourne, The Hague, Seoul, Madrid and Moscow. He has lectured at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation; National Defense College of India, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyzes and Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service, New Delhi, India; College of Defense Management, Secunderabad, India. He is Distinguished Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), New Delhi, India and Visiting Faculty at the Kautilya School of Public Policy, India.
PIR Center Advisory Board Member since 2023.
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