Ruchira Kamboj is an Indian diplomat of IFS cadre who was appointed as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations on 21 June 2022. Previously, she served as the High Commissioner of India to South Africa. She is also the First female Indian Ambassador to Bhutan and Ambassador/Permanent Representative of India to UNESCO, Paris.
Ruchira Kamboj (née Patni) was born on 3 May 1964 (age 58 years; as of 2022) in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Being the daughter of an army officer, Ruchira Kamboj grew up attending school in different cities in Delhi, Baroda, and Jammu. She spent her childhood paying heed to her father’s uncompromising insistence on punctuality and good dressing. She was the All India women’s topper of the 1987 Civil Services batch and the topper of the 1987 IFS batch.
Cover photo of the Competition Success Review, August 1987 featuring Ruchira Kamboj, the all-India women’s topper, Civil Services
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her late father was an officer in the Indian Army, and her mother is a writer and professor of Sanskrit from at the University of Delhi.
Husband & Children
Her husband, Diwakar Kamboj, is a businessman. Together, they have a daughter, Sara.
Ruchira Kamboj with her husband, Diwakar Kamboj
Ruchira Kamboj with her daughter, Sara
Ruchira Kamboj joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1987. Her first diplomatic posting was as Third Secretary in the Indian Embassy in Paris (1989-1991). After her return to Delhi, she worked as Under Secretary in the Europe West Division of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (1991–1996). As as Under Secretary, she dealt with France, the UK, the BENELUX countries, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. In this capacity, she was also responsible for handling India’s relationship with the Commonwealth of Nations, representing India at the 14th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 1995 in Auckland, New Zealand. In 1996, she relocated to Mauritius, where she served as First Secretary (Economic and Commercial) and Head of Chancery at the Indian High Commission in Port Louis. During that time, she assisted PM IK Gujral to South Africa, where she was sent on special duty, in 1997 and PM Deve Gowda’s visit to Mauritius in 1998. From June 1999 to March 2002, she served as Deputy Secretary and later Director in charge of Foreign Service Personnel and Cadre in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi. In 2002, she was posted as a Counsellor at India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. There, she dealt with various political issues including UN Peacekeeping, UN Security Council reform, the Middle East crisis, etc. From 2006 to 2009, she served as India’s Consul General in Cape Town, South Africa, a position in which she worked in close liaison with the Parliament of South Africa. Thereafter, she was picked to be the Deputy Head of the Office of the Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat London. In 2011, she became India’s first woman Chief of Protocol, a position she served till 2014. In this capacity, she steered visits of the President of India, the Vice President of India, the Prime Minister of India, and the External Affairs Minister of India. As Chief of Protocol, she worked closely with all High Commissioners/Ambassadors to India on day-to-day administration issues including delicate issues surrounding the Geneva Convention on Diplomatic Relations. In this capacity, she organised international Summits in India including the 2012 BRICS Summit in New Dehli, the 2012 ASEAN – India Commemorative Summit in New Dehli, and the 11th Asia Europe Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Gurgaon. In 2014, she moved to Paris after becoming India’s Ambassador to UNESCO; she was the first woman to assume the position. During her three-year stint at UNESCO, Varanasi and Jaipur were added as India’s first Creative Cities to the UNESCO list in 2015 and Ahmedabad was inscribed as India’s first World Heritage City in 2017. She led the Indian delegation at UNESCO’s 2016 World Heritage Committee in Istanbul in which three Indian sites — Nalanda University ruins in Bihar, Khangchendzonga Park in Sikkim, and the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh were included in the World Heritage List. Earlier, in 2014, she steered the team that inscribed Gujarat’s historical landmark ‘Rani ki Vav’ to the World Heritage List. In December 2016, she won global recognition for Yoga when t was inscribed on UNESCO’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. She organised the high-level segment of the ‘International Conference on Zero,’ where a bronze bust of ancient Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhatta was unveiled at the UNESCO headquarters by HRD Minister Smriti Irani to showcase the great and glorious tradition of India in Mathematics and Science. A gift to UNESCO, the bust adorns the principal entrance of the Organisation, serving as a reminder of this unique and historic event. Kamboj was called back to India on special assignment to direct the first swearing-in ceremony of PM Narendra Modi, held on 26 May 2014. Later, she resumed her work in Paris.
A picture of Ruchira Kamboj assisting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to UNESCO Headquarters Paris in 2015
In 2015, she was called back on special assignment to assist in the organisation of the India-Africa Forum Summit – III, which was attended by Heads of State and governments of the 54-member African Union. During this period, she also directed a special programme on the ‘Weaves of Benares’ with an aim to showcase the rich textile tradition to distinguished visitors. She assumed charge of High Commissioner of India to South Africa on 24 August 2017, with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdom of Lesotho from July 2017 to March 2019.
Ruchira Kamboj presenting credentials to President Jacob Zuma as High Commissioner of India to South Africa in 2017
From May 2019 to July 2022, she served as Indian Ambassador to Bhutan.
Ruchira Kamboj presenting credentials to His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck at the Tashichhodzong in 2019
On 21 June 2022, she was appointed as the Ambassador/Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in New York; she is the first female Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, succeeding T S Tirumurti. She assumed the charge on 1 August 2022.
- From 1989 to 1991, while she was serving as Third Secretary in the Indian Embassy in Paris, she learned French.