Director, Governance & Public Policy Initiative (GPPI)

Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research

Ramesh Chandran is the Director of the Governance & Public Policy Initiative (GPPI) & Senior Fellow at Centre for Policy Research (CPR). Through GPPI, he has organized tailor-made international academic programs for Indian Parliamentarians at Princeton, Yale, Oxford University, King’s College London, University of Melbourne and Sydney, Australia National University, Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University amongst others. Besides these programs, he is also engaged in organizing various roundtables on domestic issues at the grassroots level in India.

He was formerly Advisor at FICCI & Executive Director of Forums of Parliamentarians. He is also former Foreign Editor of the “Times of India” having covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Central Asia and was the TOI’s Bureau-Chief in Washington DC for seven years until 2001.

Ramesh Chandran initiated GPPI in August 2012, under the aegis of the CPR - India’s pre-eminent think tank.

He established GPPI to develop through sustained discussions and debate - innovative approaches to effective and accountable governance, promote political and social entrepreneurship and foster a strategic community that brings together Indian law makers, eminent scholars and academicians, think tank analysts, the bureaucracy and civil society. GPPI takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. Besides taking up issues at the grassroots level in India, GPPI is also closely working with prestigious international academic institutions.

In 2005, the Yale-India Parliamentary Leadership Program was created and to date, 76 Indian Members of Parliament from various parties have participated in this program. The academic programs have rapidly expanded to include the “Chevening-CPR Parliamentarians’ Fellowship Program” with Oxford University and King’s College London; the “Princeton-GPPI-CPR Strategic Affairs Program” and academic programs at Sydney and Melbourne University & Australia National University; and Hebrew and Tel Aviv University in Israel in recent years- all specifically designed programs for India’s law makers in joint collaborations between the renowned academic institutions and GPPI-CPR.

Set up with the objective of strengthening parliamentary diplomacy that binds India and the world, GPPI intends to promote thoughtful debate and dialogue on issues which exemplify the key challenges on the global governance agenda. It hopes to engage with the country’s current and emerging leaders in its efforts to hone the governance and public policy discourse in India.

Prior to initiating the GPPI, Ramesh Chandran was Advisor, FICCI and Executive Director, Forums of Parliamentarians dealing with the US, the European Union, UK, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Pakistan, China, Italy, Russia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Through the Forums, he promoted track II and track III diplomacy by undertaking successful delegation visits to meet the parliamentary counterparts as well as promote academic agenda between legislators and renowned academic institutions.

In May 2013, German Ambassador to India, Mr. Michael Steiner conferred the prestigious - Germany’s “Cross of the Order of Merit” to Ramesh Chandran on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany in acknowledgment of his work and individual contribution to the relations between Germany and India, and for his exceptional contributions to enhance Indo-German bilateral relations with parliamentary exchanges over the past decade in presence of a large number of Parliamentarians and diplomats.

He is also the former Foreign Editor of The Times of India. Between 1995 to May 2001, he was the newspaper's Bureau Chief of North America and the United Nations in Washington, DC. During this period, he travelled and reported extensively from all over the United States, including the coverage of the 1996 and the 2000 US Presidential Elections. He also contributed a freewheeling column to The Sunday Times, titled ‘Letter from America’.

Ramesh Chandran covered the Gulf War in its entirety from both Baghdad as well as Amman. He has written extensively on the scourge of terrorism and travelled widely through Afghanistan in 1992. He also reported from all across the former Soviet Union writing on the unravelling of the erstwhile Superpower as well as on the emerging Baltic States and Central Asia. Between 1990 and 1995, he visited and reported from all across the Middle East and the Gulf States, including Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Iran besides writing on the Aegean conflict from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.

Between 1979 and 1990, he was based in Paris and London. During these eleven years, he wrote extensively from both East & West Europe, covered major international summits and contributed to European, American and Indian journals besides appearing on television talk shows. He has interviewed numerous Heads of State and Government, including Francois Mitterrand, Benazir Bhutto, Yasser Arafat, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan, Goh Chok Tong, Prince Sihanouk, Amr Moussa, Islam Karimov, Alain Juppe, etc. He has also served on the Jury of The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) based in Washington, DC to scrutinize the award for the top International Investigative Media Story.