December 11, 2012

S.M. Krishna ’59, India’s Minister of External Affairs, spent the first week of October addressing the United Nations and conferring with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before visiting his alma mater for what he called “a happy homecoming.”

S. M. Krishna ’59. Photo by Brittany Oswald.

Krishna, who earned a Master of Comparative Law degree from SMU’s Dedman School of Law, made his first official visit to Texas October 3. He spoke on the topic of “India Now” as part of the Carrington Endowed Lecture Series sponsored by the law school. Broad interest in the event required a venue change to McFarlin Auditorium to accommodate the growing audience.

Before diving into an insightful overview of India’s past, present and future in the world community, Krishna talked about his return to the University following “a 40-year gap.”

“As I entered the campus of SMU today, I cannot but reminisce on the wonderful, eventful time spent here during the formative years of my student life,” he commented. “I owe a great deal of my success to the knowledge that I acquired at this great institution of learning.”

After completing his studies in the United States, Krishna taught international law at Renukacharya Law College in Bangalore. In 1962 he launched a distinguished career in public service in India that has included positions at the state and national levels. Krishna became external affairs minister in 2009 and oversees the agency responsible for relationships with other countries. His position is similar to that of the U.S. secretary of state.

In discussing his country’s role as a global economic driver, Krishna credited former President George W. Bush with strengthening ties between the United States and India. “President Bush made a strong political investment in building a relationship with India,” he said. As a result, the countries have forged a “natural partnership for enhancing mutual prosperity and stimulating global economic growth,” particularly in the areas of energy, science, technology, health care and agriculture, Krishna said.

Praising Dallas as “a thriving city” and Texas for developing “one of the healthiest economies in the United States,” Krishna expressed interest in expanding the trade relationship between his country and the Lone Star State.

The globetrotting statesman received the Dedman School of Law Distinguished Global Alumnus Award in 2009, but was unable to attend the annual awards ceremony at that time. Dean John B. Attanasio presented the commemorative medallion to him at the lecture, lauding Krishna and his “brilliant career” as a “reflection of the caliber” of SMU’s law school alumni.