New Delhi, Jan 7 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi conferred the first 'S. K. Singh Award' for excellence in the Indian Foreign Service to diplomat D. Bala Venkatesh Varma for his outstanding contribution in the field.
Varma was a key member of the negotiating team of the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal from the beginning since the first agreement of July 2005 down to the Additional Protocol in 2010.
He was honoured with the award 'for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen India's position in the global nuclear order'.
While making the introductory speech, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said that it was an award with a difference.
"In foreign affairs, real achievement is often intangible and imperceptible. Sometimes it is through a series of small steps or trends, which becomes noticeable only in hindsight. Very often it requires teamwork, but even teamwork is led through inspiration and intensity of participation," said Mathai.
"This award takes note of those elements and is thus an award with a difference. And in awarding it, I believe the jury has chosen a diplomat who made a difference," he added.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, India's Ambassador to U.S., Nirupama Rao, and other senior diplomats of the country attended the award ceremony that was held here on Friday.
The award has been named after the former Foreign Secretary and Governor, Shailendra Kumar Singh, a diplomat widely respected in the foreign services community.
Shailendra Kumar Singh was well known for his acumen, professionalism, and leadership qualities.
A jury comprising of Sonia Gandhi, Hamid Ansari, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Rahul Gandhi selected the first recipient of the prestigious award. (ANI)