Naresh Chandra (82), former Indian Ambassador to the US, died at a private hospital in Goa on Sunday night due to multiple organ failure. PTI reported Shekhar Salkar, chief of clinical services at Manipal Hospital, Goa, as saying that Chandra was admitted to the hospital on Friday evening with complaints of fever and with myalgia (muscle pain) since three days. Chandra had served as the Cabinet Secretary of India from 1990–92 and was the Indian Ambassador to the US from 1996 to 2001. He was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civil honour, in 2007.
Chandra’s death has shocked scores of his admirers, who consider him one of India’s finest civil servants and diplomat. “RIP Naresh Chandra, civil servant, strategist, patriot, friend. Keeper of India’s nuke project ’87-98. Follows bro Gary Saxena soon after,” senior journalist Shekhar Gupta tweeted. Author Suhel Seth posted a series of tweets after Chandra’s sad demise. “Naresh Chandra apart from being Cabinet Secretary also served as the Governor of GUJARAT and then as India’s Ambassador to the US. Sad loss…Deeply deeply saddened at the passing on of Naresh Chandra…brilliant humanist, bureaucrat and fellow colleague on the Coca Cola board… Naresh Chandra was a true nationalist and a brilliant human being. I exhorted him to write his biography. We have lost a giant of an Indian.”
BJD MP Baijyant Panda said, “Saddened to hear #NareshChandra former CabSec & Ambassador to US is no more. I saw his wisdom & understated brilliance in Track 2. Om Shanti.”
Activist and author Sudheendra Kulkarni said former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee respected Chandra. “Deeply saddened to know Naresh Chandra ji is no more. He was one of India’s best and far-sighted diplomats. Atalji respected him. Om Shanti.”
Deeply saddened to know Naresh Chandra ji is no more. He was one of India’s best and far-sighted diplomats. Atalji respected him. Om Shanti pic.twitter.com/NnJvk00V7I
— Sudheendra Kulkarni (@SudheenKulkarni) July 10, 2017
Truly saddened at the passing away of Ambassador Naresh Chandra. He was one of the best bosses I had. RIP Sir pic.twitter.com/zY9Rr3rcJw
— Vikas Swarup (@VikasSwarup) July 9, 2017
The IAS Association of India said, “We deeply mourn the sad demise of one of the finest civil servants – Naresh Chandra. A great loss to the nation & society. Condolences.”
India’s high commissioner to Canada Vikas Swarup tweeted, “Truly saddened at the passing away of Ambassador Naresh Chandra. He was one of the best bosses I had. RIP Sir.”
Chnadra was born in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. According to the-south-asian.com, a regional magazine of South Asia, Chandra represented India in the US during the turbulent time after 1998 nuclear test. Chandra described his tenure as “living in interesting times”.
“The major challenge came in May 1998 – dealing with the nuclear test. I remember going from one studio to another – TV, radio, and press – in addition to dozens of meetings in the Senate and the Congress. That was the most difficult and a very challenging period of my tenure here,” Chandra wrote for the magazine.
Chandra was also a visionary. His idea for development of India and restoring its pride was simple and to point. “…avoid wasting time and get on with the business of economic development. India’s rate of growth maybe good in a relative sense, but it is nowhere near our potential. People may applaud our ideas and our culture but unless we make money and provide a market where others can come and make money – there will be no business,” Chandra wrote for the-south-asian.com in December 2000.