Kewal Singh

Kewal Singh (19151991) was an Indian diplomat, Foreign Secretary and India's ambassador to the USSR, Pakistan and USA. He was a 1955 recipient of the Indian civilian honour of Padma Shri.[1]

Early life and education

Kewal Singh was born in a village in the Lyallpur District of West Punjab in 1915. He was educated at the Forman Christian College, Lahore, the Law College, Lahore and at the Oxford University. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1939 and served in Punjab in administrative positions until Independence after which he opted for the Indian Foreign Service.[2]

Diplomatic career

Kewal Singh was appointed the first Indian chief executive of Pondicherry after the French handed control of the territory back to India and served as French India's High Commissioner from November 1, 1954 to 1957. He later served at Indian missions in Stockholm, London and in Germany.[3][4]

Kewal Singh was India's ambassador to Portugal in 1962 when India's annexation of Goa led to the breaking off of diplomatic relations between the nations. A similar fate befell him in 1965 when, as high commissioner to Pakistan, he had to leave that country after the cessation of diplomatic relations following the Indo-Pak War of 1965.[5]

He served as India's ambassador to the USSR from 1966 to 1968 and as Ambassador to the United States from 1976 to 1977. He succeeded T. N. Kaul as foreign secretary, serving from November 1972 to October 1976.[6][7] India took over Sikkim, its protectorate, following prolonged internal disturbances there while Singh was foreign secretary.[8] During his tenure, India signed an agreement for demarcating the maritime boundary with Sri Lanka and led a series of talks with the then Pakistani Foreign Secretary Agha Shahi on normalising communications and travel between the two countries.[9][10]

Death and legacy

Following his retirement as the ambassador to USA, Kewal Singh taught at the UCLA and at Kentucky University's Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce where he was distinguished world statesman in residence until his death in 1991.[11] He authored a book, Partition and Aftermath: Memoirs of an Ambassador.[12]


  1. "Padma Shri" (PDF). Padma Shri. 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  2. Singh, Kewal (1991). Partition and Aftermath : Memoirs of an Ambassador. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House. p. 6.
  3. Singh, Iqbal (1998). Between Two Fires: Towards an Understanding of Jawaharlal Nehru's Foreign Policy. New Delhi: Orient Longman. p. 272.
  4. Das, B S (2010). Memoirs of an Indian Diplomat. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill. p. 45.
  5. Budhwar, P K (2007). A Diplomat Reveals. New Delhi: Dorling Kindersley. p. 71.
  6. "FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1969–1976, VOLUME E–8, DOCUMENTS ON SOUTH ASIA, 1973–1976". Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  7. Kux, Dennis (1992). India & the U. S.: Estranged Democracies, 1941-1991. Washington DC: NDU Press. p. 471.
  8. Sen, Sankar (2006). Reflections And Reminiscences Of Police Officers. New Delhi: Concept Publishers. p. 94.
  9. Lyon, Peter (2008). Conflict Between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara. p. 195.
  10. Bhasin, A S (2001). India-Sri Lanka Relations and Sri Lanka's Ethnic Conflict Documents 1947 - 2000 Volume 1. New Delhi: India Research Press. p. 190.
  11. "Kewal Singh Memorial Fellowship". Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  12. "Partition and Aftermath : Memoirs of an Ambassador". Retrieved 4 December 2012.
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