Venu Rajamony

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Venu Rajamony
India Statement to RC-4 (31073509467).jpg
Officer on Special Duty (External Cooperation) to the State Government of Kerala
Assumed office
17 September 2021
Ambassador of India to the Netherlands
In office
8 May 2017 – 2020
Preceded byJ.S. Mukul
Succeeded byPradeep Kumar Rawat
Press Secretary, President of India
In office
2012–2017
PresidentPranab Mukherjee
Consul General of India to Dubai
In office
2007–2010
Preceded byY.K. Sinha
Succeeded bySanjay Verma
Personal details
Born (1960-11-12) 12 November 1960 (age 61)
NationalityIndian
Spouse(s)Saroj Thapa
Alma materMahatma Gandhi University, Kerala
Jawaharlal Nehru University
OccupationDiplomat IFS
Websitewww.indianembassy.nl

Venu Rajamony (born 12 November 1960) is an Indian diplomat who belongs to the Indian Foreign Service. On September 17, 2021, he has assumed the post of Officer on Special Duty, External Cooperation (with the rank of Chief Secretary) in the State Government of Kerala.[1] Also, he is serving as a concurrent faculty of Diplomatic Practice at the Jindal Global Law School of the O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.[2] He was the Ambassador of India to the Netherlands from 2017 to 2020.[3][4][5][6] He was also the Permanent Representative of India to the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague as well as responsible for India’s relations with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

In addition, he held the post of Press Secretary to the President of India during the tenure of President Pranab Mukherjee from 2012 to 2017.

A career diplomat with more than three decades of experience, scholar of international relations and former journalist, Rajamony[7] held several key positions in India and abroad before retiring from service in November 2020.[8]

Born in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, he completed his primary education there before moving with his parents to Kochi. He holds degrees in Politics from Kerala University and Law from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, and a postgraduate degree in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

He began his career as a journalist with the Indian Express, Kochi, in 1983 and qualified for the Indian Foreign Service in 1986. Fluent in the Chinese language, Rajamony is also proficient in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and French. He has served as a diplomat in Indian missions in Hong Kong, Beijing, Geneva, Dubai, and Washington, D.C.

While serving as Consul General of India in Dubai from 2007 to 2010, Rajamony took several initiatives for the welfare of the two million-strong Indian community there and also to promote trade and investment between the UAE and India.[9]

During his tenure in the Netherlands, Rajamony appeared on behalf of India before the ICJ in The Hague in the matter of "Advisory Opinion concerning the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius."[10][11] He was a member of the Indian delegation before the ICJ in the Jadhav case (India Vs. Pakistan)[12][13] and Co-Agent of India in the case concerning the Enrica Lexie incident (Italy Vs. India)[14] before the PCA.[15] He was also the leader of the Indian delegation to multiple sessions of the Conference of States Parties and Executive Council of the OPCW.[16]

As OSD, Ambassador Rajamony’s mandate includes interaction with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, foreign missions based in India and Indian diplomatic missions abroad on various matters, including those pertaining to the Kerala diaspora. His responsibilities include exploring external cooperation opportunities for the state in diverse sectors, including business, trade, investments, finance, skill development, education, culture etc. He also supports the state government in its interaction with foreign officials and business delegations visiting the state as well as in the follow up to official visits by the Chief Minister of Kerala abroad. He is based in New Delhi and functions out of the Kerala House.

Early days and Education[edit]

Venu Rajamony was born on 12 November 1960 in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of the South Indian state of Kerala, to K S Rajamony, a leading lawyer, and Seetha Rajamony.

K S Rajamony practiced law in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi for more than 40 years, traversing a wide spectrum of legal issues and engaging actively in public life. He was involved in the formation of the first Bar Council of Kerala; the Lok Adalat, which provided free legal services to the poor; the Kerala People's Arts Club (KPAC), which transformed the intellectual and cultural landscape of Kerala, and the Thiruvananthapuram Flying Club. Seetha Rajamony, who had studied in Holy Angels Convent, Women's College, and University College was active in the Trivandrum Women’s Club and Inner Wheel Club.

Growing up in Kunnumpuram behind the Ayurveda College in Thiruvananthapuram, Venu Rajamony completed his primary education in Holy Angels Convent. The next three years were in St. Joseph's School near the General Hospital, easily accessible from home on foot or a cycle. Rajamony's high school days in St. Joseph's of the Woods, Kalamassery (1973-1976) began with his family's shift to Kochi. He subsequently did a pre-degree course in Maharajas College, Ernakulam (1976 to 1978) and graduated from there in 1981 with a BA in Politics. He was elected as Chairman of the Maharaja's College Students' Union during 1980-81 under the panel of Kerala Students Union.[17]

Moving to New Delhi to do a Master's degree in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), he was Vice President of the Students' Union there during 1981-1982.[18] Later, he secured an LLB degree from Ernakulam Law College, Mahatma Gandhi University (1983-1986).

Rajamony was a staff correspondent of the Indian Express, Kochi, from 1983 to 1986. He qualified for the Indian Foreign Service in 1986 after appearing for the examination at University College, Thiruvananthapuram. Rajamony also holds a Certificate in Chinese Language from the University of Hong Kong.[19]

Family background[edit]

K S Rajamony (1928-2000), Venu's father, came to Thiruvananthapuram from Mavelikara to study in University College and then stayed on till 1973, the year he shifted his practice to the High Court in Ernakulam. Son of S Kulathu Iyer, who was Municipal Chairman of Mavelikara for several years and a close associate of Prof M P Manmadhan, he wasted no time in becoming a postgraduate in English Literature. He went on to secure a law degree in 1951 and a Master’s degree in Criminal Law in 1960 from the University of Kerala, winning the Malloor Govinda Pillai Gold Medal.

Rajamony began practicing law in Thiruvananthapuram as leading lawyer S Neelakanta Iyer's junior. He had meanwhile married Neelakanta Iyer's well-educated daughter, Seetha. Both there and in Kochi, over the next four decades, he tackled a wide range of legal issues and was also an active participant in public life. In 1961, he was a member of the first Bar Council of Kerala. He served as Chief Editor of the Supreme Court Weekly Reporter and was a member of the Editorial Board of the Kerala Law Reporter.

Rajamony was also a visiting faculty member of the Government Law College and the Police Training College, Thiruvananthapuram, as well as the School of Law, Cochin University of Science and Technology. He mentored a large number of lawyers who went on to become judges and prominent public figures.

Working closely with Justice V R Krishna Iyer, Rajamony pioneered the Lok Adalat movement in Kerala, which provided free legal services to the poor. In recognition of his integrity, competence, and experience, he was appointed Member of the Kerala Public Men’s Corruption Commission (later renamed the Kerala Lokayukta) with the rank of a High Court judge from 1992 to 1997.

The young Rajamony was keenly interested in art, culture, and social work. He, along with cultural leaders such as poet ONV Kurup and advocate Janardhana Kurup, founded the Kerala People’s Arts Club (KPAC) in 1950, which transformed the intellectual and cultural landscape of Kerala. He was also involved in setting up the Thiruvananthapuram Flying Club and the State Home Guards.

An active Rotarian for many years, Rajamony served as State Secretary of Bharat Scouts and Guides for eight years and was a patron of the Thiruvananthapuram School for the Blind. His autobiography in Malayalam, Olimangatha Ormakal (Memories that never fade), was published in 1999.

The legacy left behind by this illustrious lawyer is being carried forward by his daughter Leela Ganesh (Vice President, Optima Insurance Brokers) and sons R. Balachandran (Chairman Emeritus, Buimerc Core Investments Pvt Ltd) and Venu Rajamony (Indian Foreign Service) through the K S Rajamony Foundation.[20] Eminent persons such Justice Krishna Iyer, Justice K T Thomas, Justice P K Balasubramanyan, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, and Minister of Law and Justice Salman Khurshid have delivered the K S Rajamony Memorial Lectures initiated in 2002. The highlight of the series undoubtedly was President Pranab Mukherjee delivering the sixth memorial lecture in March 2017 at a function in Kochi attended by the Governor, Chief Minister, Chief Justice, Leader of Opposition, and former Chief Minister of Kerala.

Venu Rajamony is married to Dr Saroj Thapa, an educationist from Darjeeling, and they are the parents of two sons, one an engineer in the US and the other a lawyer in Delhi.

Literary career[edit]

Venu Rajamony's book "What Can We Learn From The Dutch - Rebuilding Kerala Post 2018 Floods'' was released in Kerala in January 2019.[21] The book describes the Dutch response to floods over history, their innovations in water management, and the lessons Kerala can learn from the Dutch. The book highlights the need for the state to equip itself with technical know-how and expertise to avoid another such disaster.

Another notable work is a coffee table book titled "India and the UAE: In Celebration of a Legendary Friendship." A Malayalam version of the book was released in Kerala in 2013 and an Arabic version was published in the UAE in 2014.

His book "India and the Netherlands - Past, Present and Future" has won praise as an encyclopedia of the cross-cultural legacy between India and the Netherlands. It presents vivid snapshots of relations between the two nations over the centuries and brings to life the compelling personalities whose contributions shaped the Indo-Dutch discourse.[22]

He also authored a monograph titled "The India-China-US Triangle: A Soft Balance of Power in the Making" during his fellowship at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC during 2001-2002.

  • India and the UAE: In Celebration of a Legendary Friendship,[23] Lustre Publications, 2008, ISBN 978-1860632808
  • India and The Netherlands – Past, Present and Future,[24] Bombay Ink, 2019, ISBN 978-9090321011
  • What We Can Learn From The Dutch – Rebuilding Kerala Post 2018 Floods,[25] DC Books, 2019, ISBN 978-9352825929
  • Select Paintings of Rashtrapati Bhavan (Portfolio), Lalit Kala Akademi, 2016, ISBN 978-8187507659
  • Company Paintings in Rashtrapati Bhavan (Portfolio), Lalit Kala Akademi, 2016, ISBN 978-8187507642
  • Paintings in the Ashoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan (Portfolio), Lalit Kala Akademi, 2016, ISBN 978-8187507635

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ex-India's envoy to Netherlands Venu Rajamony joins as OSD to Kerala govt for external cooperation". Outlook India. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Jindal Global Law School appoints Ambassador Venu Rajamony as Professor". The Print. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Venu Rajamony Appointed Indian Ambassador To Netherlands". NDTV. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Venu Rajamony appointed as next Ambassador of India to Kingdom of Netherlands". Business Standard. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Venu Rajamony to be India's next Ambassador to the Netherlands". UNI India. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Venu Rajamony appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of the Netherlands". Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Profile". Venu Rajamony. Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  8. ^ "Proud of Indian diaspora's achievements, contributions to society: Dutch PM to India's envoy". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  9. ^ "Time to move on for India's top men". The National. 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  10. ^ "India backs Mauritius: Chagos Archipelago has been part of the Mauritian territory, India tells ICJ". www.timesnownews.com. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  11. ^ Scroll Staff. "India supports Mauritius' claim to disputed Chagos islands controlled by Britain". Scroll.in. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  12. ^ "'Was confident of a positive verdict at ICJ in Jadhav case' | Kochi News - Times of India". The Times of India. TNN. Jul 25, 2019. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  13. ^ "Venu Rajamony Interview |Venu Rajamony to play a vital role in Kulbhushan Jadhav's case - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  14. ^ "Cases | PCA-CPA". pca-cpa.org. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  15. ^ "The Enrica Lexie Incident, Award, 21 May 2020". Jus Mundi. 2020-07-02.
  16. ^ "India is against use of chemical weapons: Venu Rajamony". The Hindu. PTI. 2018-06-27. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-02-17.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ "KSU wins chairman's post in Maharaja's College". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  18. ^ "Love knows no borders, or ask this ex-diplomat from Kerala!". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  19. ^ "Trip down memory lane". New Indian Express. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  20. ^ "ADDRESS AT THE 6th K.S. RAJAMONY MEMORIAL LECTURE AT LE MEREDIAN, KOCHI AT 1715 HRS. ON 02-03-2017". rajbhavan.kerala.gov.in. Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  21. ^ ""What Can We Learn From The Dutch : Rebuilding Kerala Post 2018 Floods" released at Kerala Literature Festival". Water Alliance. 2019-02-13. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  22. ^ "India and the Netherlands - Past, Present and Future". DutchNews.nl. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  23. ^ "Venu Rajamony book: India and the UAE; In celebration of a legendary friendship". India Today. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  24. ^ "Book on India-Netherlands relationship presented to Dutch King". The Week. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  25. ^ "Rajamony's book provides perspective to rebuild Kerala after floods". Outlook India. Retrieved 22 January 2019.

External links[edit]