Mr. Sudhir Vyas (BT/EE/1975)
Mr. Sudhir Vyas is presently ambassador of India in Germany and is a presidential gold medalist of IIT Kanpur from the Class-of-75. He was amongst the first few IITians to change course and opt for an altogether different professional stream. This was a rare challenge in those early days, when the complex system of difficult entrance examinations and oral tests to enter the Indian civil services were so different, both in style and substance, from an IIT engineering syllabus. Yet he sat for the
all India civil services examinations conducted by the union public service commission to top the IAS in 1977. He joined the Indian foreign service the same year.
Mr. Vyas had wide-ranging interests as a student at IIT Kanpur, from history to art, but he was especially known for his interest in and knowledge of wildlife, in particular, ornithology. A keen bird watcher, he had invited Padma Bhushan Shri Salim Ali, perhaps India most outstanding researcher, author and conservationist in this field to speak at IIT Kanpur. In the course of his diplomatic career spanning 32 years now, Sudhir has spent almost a third dealing with India neighbours where India foreign policy faces some of its severest challenges, either from those capitals or handling their affairs from the foreign ministry in Delhi. He has served in Kathmandu, Nepal, in those tumultuous days leading to the introduction of democracy in that country; in Pakistan, at a particularly difficult period in our bilateral relations that witnessed some of the most tricky diplomatic situations in that country, such as General Musharraf military coup, the IC 814 airplane hijacking and its violent aftermath, the Agra Summit and the risky situation during operation Parakram following the terrorist attack on our Parliament in 2001.
Mr. Vyas was Ambassador in Thimphu, Bhutan, with which India enjoys a specially close relationship, during a particularly historic period in that country that witnessed its transition to constitutional democracy and the coronation of its present King. Another area of Sudhir specialisation has been the Arab world, where he served as India ambassador to the UAE and earlier in Egypt and Algeria. He studied Arabic to meet the requirements of this specialisation. He has also considerable experience of multilateral diplomacy at the UN in New York, when he served as a member of India delegation to the UN security council when India was a member of that body in 1991-92, just when the former soviet union collapsed and the balance of power in the world began to change with the first Gulf war.
Mr. Vyas is now Indian ambassador to Germany, Europe economic powerhouse and a leading innovator of technologies for the future; today, in areas such as climate change and green energy issues, this diplomatic engagement and dialogue takes on a special relevance. And all through his diplomatic career that has taken him to so many different parts of the world, Sudhir has kept up his keen interest in birds, ornithology and wildlife in particular, and conservation issues in general. He is conferred with the distinguished alumnus award of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur for his outstanding achievements in managing the diplomatic relations of India with several countries.