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For this week's interview as part of the series 'Know a Member' we have Mr. Upender Singh Rawat. Please continue reading below to know what he has to say.
1. What was your biggest take-away from the training at IIT?
Ans. I consider the confidence to be able to face challenges in life as the biggest take-away. This was fostered by living in intellectually stimulating and challenging environment for years at IIT Kanpur.
2. Unlike most graduates who head outside India post IIT, you chose to stay back. What influenced you to take that decision?
Ans. I decided to work for the Government of India and became a civil servant, so the choice was natural for me.
3. What has been your biggest assignment of which you are proud of?
Ans. While each assignment is unique, it has been my privilege to represent India as a diplomat. This provides an opportunity to work towards Indian interests while learning from the experiences of other countries at the same time.
I find the present assignment in Korea particularly interesting and challenging as the two countries are moving towards much greater engagement at all levels – political, economic and people to people exchanges. This has been particularly so after the successful visit of Prime Minister Narendera Modi to Korea in May 2015.
4. Did you have any role models who inspired you in your career thus far?
Ans. Like everyone else in my career path I have been influenced by various people in my personal life, especially my mother, and by distinguished public figures.
In terms of the life as a whole I consider Krishna in Mahabharata, one of the major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, as role model, inspiration, spiritual guru and embodiment of near perfection.
5. How do you think IIT graduates in Korea can contribute to India's growth under the able leadership of our new govt.?
Ans. Korea, with its advanced technology, resources and experience of rapid industrialization and modernization in just one generation, is one of the most natural partners for accelerating India’s economic growth and skill enhancement of our people. Our government is very focused on these issues and is engaging with Korea at all levels to develop the bilateral partnership for mutual benefit.
IIT graduates in Korea are working in the cutting edge of the technology and can help in assisting to develop business linkages, academic partnerships, information sharing, Joint Ventures, etc. and above all by starting their own business based on their experience in Korea.
6. Advise for other IIT graduates in our group?
Ans. The group of IIT graduates in Korea is much smaller than the similar groups in countries like the US and the UK. The issue of smaller size can be addressed by greater synergy among the group members. For this IIT alumni association in South Korea is a welcome initiate and I applaud Mr. Pankaj Agarwal and his team who took this initiative.
I would suggest the group to take only those activities that it can follow completely. Further its linkages with other institutions devoted to the India-Korea relations e.g. the organization I am part of – the Embassy of India in Seoul, Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea and other Indian association would help in bonding with the other groups and taking on challenges that are difficult to address in smaller groups.
Upender Singh Rawat completed 5-year Masters Degree course in Physics from IIT-Kanpur in 1995. He then joined Indian Foreign Service in 1998 and thereafter served in Indian Diplomatic Missions in Argentina, Slovakia, UK and Mexico. From 2002 to 2005 he served in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi in the Consular Division. Since January 2014 he serves the Indian Mission in Seoul as its Deputy Chief.