Nirupama Rao

Nirupama Rao

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Nirupama Rao Profile

  • Name:
  • Nirupama Rao
  • Born:
  • December 6, 1950
  • Spouse:
  • Sudhakar Rao

Nirupama Rao Biography

Nirupama Rao is a 1973 batch Indian Foreign Service officer and was Indian Ambassador to the United States, born in Malappuram District, Kerala. She was the second UPSC Civil Services Topper and the first woman to get first rank. She won the exams in the year 1973. In July 2009, she became the second woman after Chokila Iyer to hold the post of Indian Foreign Secretary, the head of the Indian Foreign Service. She is married to Mr. Sudhakar Rao, an IAS officer whom she met during the training period of civil services.


Nirupama Rao was born in Malappuram, Kerala on 6 December 1950. Her father served in Indian army. Her schooling was done at different cities spread all over the country - Bangalore, Pune, Lucknow and Coonoor. She became graduated from Mount Carmel College, in Bangalore, in 1970. She obtained Master’s degree in English Literature from Marathwada University in Maharashtra. In 1973 she topped the All India Civil Services Examination and joined the Indian Foreign Service. She met Sudhakar Rao while training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri academy in Mussoorie. Rao was also a selected candidate of civil service exams the same year and both got married.


After training, she was appointed in the Indian Embassy in Vienna (Austria) where she served during middle 1970’s. Later she was appointed as the first Secretary in the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka from 1981-83. She was a member of the delegation of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during his historic visit to Beijing in December 1988. Rao was a Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University in 1992-93. She served in the Indian Embassies in Washington and Moscow as Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, respectively. She has published a book of poetry, titled Rain Rising.

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Updated: September 25, 2017

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