Minister for External Affairs
Date of Birth: 01/05/1932
Place of Birth: Somanahalli in Maddur Taluk, Mandya District
After the resignation of New Delhi’s point man on Africa, Shashi Tharoor, in May, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna is taking an even more hands-on role in the cultivation of India-Africa ties. In mid-March, he opened the 6th Confederation of Indian Industry-Export-Import Bank Conclave on India-Africa cooperation and then attended the Group of 15 summit in Tehran, Iran, a gathering of Asian, African and Latin American developing nations. On 25 May – Africa Day – Krishna announced his support for permanent African representation on the United Nations Security Council, terming the current arrangement ‘undemocratic’. India expects support for its own ambitions for a UNSC seat in return.
Born in 1932, Krishna studied at Maharaja’s College, Mysore, and Government Law College, Bangalore. He continued his education in the United States, at Southern Methodist University and as a Fulbright Scholar at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Krishna has been an important figure in Karnataka politics for five decades. In 1962, as a professor of international law at Sri Jagadguru Renukacharya Law College, he began his political career by winning a seat in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. In 1968 and again in 1970, he was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, and then served five years as Karnataka’s Commerce Minister (1972-77).
Krishna joined the cabinets of Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, first as Minister of State for Industry in 1983-84 and then as Finance Minister in 1984-85. He was Deputy Chief Minister (1992-1994) then Chief Minister (1999-2004) of Karnataka, and Governor of Maharashtra State in 2004-2008. Since 1996, he has been a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh picked Krishna for the External Affairs post in May 2009.