I was born in Amritsar in the north Indian state of Punjab in 1959 and spent my first 22 years in the same town, from kindergarten at the St. Francis School to a Masters degree in Economics from the local Guru Nanak University.
I started my diplomatic career in 1983. A member of the Indian Foreign Service, my first diplomatic assignment was at the Indian Embassy in Cairo, where I also studied Arabic. This was followed by a three-year stint in Damascus before a return to headquarters in New Delhi in 1991 where I was closely associated with efforts to project India as an investment destination.
I moved to the Indian Embassy in Washington DC in 1993 and worked as the political counsellor responsible for liasing with the US Congress before my move to the number two position at the Indian mission in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1997.