Foreign diplomacy is in the veins of the Palat Tharavad (family) of Shivshankar Menon hailing from Ottapalam in Palakkad district district of Kerala. Mr. K.P.S. Menon (senior),India's first foreign secretary, is his grandfather and Mr. K.P.S. Menon (junior), former Indian ambassador to China, is his uncle. His father P.N. Menon was also a career diplomat and served as the ambassador of Yugoslavia in his last days.
Mr. Shivshankar Menon maintains close contact with his `tharavad.' He is also associated with the work of the Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair Foundation.
His stint in Beijing was also significant as it marked improvement in Sino-India relations, the high point being the visit of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Shivshankar Menon has been a dynamic officer of the Indian Foreign Services who has since risen to the very top of his professional ladder.
Starting his career with the Indian Foreign Service in 1972, after having done his Masters in History from Delhi University , he has served with distinction in every portfolio allotted to him at the Ministry of External Affairs and in the Indian embassy in Beijing , Vienna and Tokyo. Later he was seconded to the Department of Atomic Energy where he held the position of an Advisor to the Atomic Energy Commission. Later he was appointed our Ambassador to Israel and our High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. His next posting was that of India 's Ambassador to China in Beijing .
In spite of his busy schedule in the Indian Foreign Service he has managed to keep up with his interests in classical music and the Himalayas. He is fluent in numerous foreign languages specially so in Chinese and German.
Shivshankar Menon by his dynamism and dedication has distinguished himself as an alumnus of the Scindia School. The Scindia School confers on Shivshankar Menon the Madhav Award as an alumnus of eminence for the year 2000.
Another milestone in his career was the Indo-Us nuclear deal, for which he worked so hard to convince NSG nations to get a clean waiver for nuclear supplies to India.