Her Excellency Meera Shankar is the ambassador of India to the United States. Prior to this, she was ambassador of India to Germany. Shankar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973 and has held several important assignments during her career. She served as a director in the Prime Minister"s Office from 1985 to 1991, and was posted to Washington, D.C., to serve as minister (commerce) from 1991 to 1995. After that, Shankar headed the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in New Delhi, overseeing the country"s cultural diplomacy. Subsequently, in the Ministry of External Affairs, she headed two divisions dealing with the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and relations with Nepal and Bhutan. After being promoted to the rank of additional secretary in 2002, Shankar oversaw international security and India"s foreign policy at the United Nations for more than three years.