|Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Singapore)|
|Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Singapore)|
01 Sep 2010 – 01 Jun 2013
|Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Republic of Singapore|
|Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Republic of Singapore|
Bilahari Kim Hee Papanasam Setlur Kausikan
1954 (age 67)
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
University of Singapore
|Awards||Order of Bernardo O'Higgins (Gran Cruz)|
Oman Civil Merit Order (Second Class)
Bilahari Kim Hee Papanasam Setlur Kausikan is a Singaporean academic, and retired diplomat and civil servant. He is known for having been Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and for serving as ambassador to the United Nations and Russia. Following his retirement, he was Ambassador-at-Large and Policy Advisor at Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is a frequent commentator on Singapore politics and foreign affairs, and is often referred to as "Singapore's undiplomatic diplomat".
Kausikan was born to P.S. Raman, a Tamil Brahmin and Indian nationalist. Raman settled in Singapore after Partition and married Lim Eng Neo, a Peranakan Chinese, with whom he had a son, Bilahari, and two daughters, Kalyani and Kamala. Raman become a senior figure in Singapore broadcasting. He gained Lee Kuan Yew's attention after he advised against editing out the video of Lee tearing while announcing Singapore's expulsion from the Malaysian Federation in 1965. Thereafter, he was appointed to various diplomatic positions, including to Indonesia during Konfrontasi, and subsequently to Australia and the Soviet Union. recovering from a heart attack during his tenure in Jakarta, he was reassigned to be Singapore's High Commissioner to Australia and served in that capacity for a year and a half.
Raman named his son Bilahari Kim Hee Papanasam Setlur Kausikan. "Bilahari" is the name of a raga, "Kausikan" a form of the Vedic surname Kaushik, "Setlur" a Brahmin sub-caste, and "Papanasam" was his father's village in Tamil Nadu. "Kim Hee" (金喜; Jīn Xǐ; 'golden joy') was the Chinese name that Kausikan's mother gave him.
Kausikan studied political science at the University of Singapore and received a scholarship from the Public Service Commission to pursue a Ph.D in international relations at Columbia University, with the aim of becoming an academic. During this time, he would secretly submit articles to The Straits Times under the pseudonym "Bee Kim Hee". Part way into his dissertation, he decided to drop out from the course and return to Singapore, where he was posted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He ultimately graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia University.
Kausikan first joined the civil service in 1981 as a Foreign Service Officer, and was absorbed into the Administrative Service in 1983. Kausikan was appointed Singapore's Ambassador to the newly formed Russian Federation in 1994, with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to Finland. Kausikan was Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 1998, with concurrent accreditation as High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico. In 1998, Kausikan was appointed Deputy Secretary (Foreign Affairs) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Second Permanent Secretary in 2001, and was elevated to Permanent Secretary on 1 September 2010. He is now Chairman of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore and Senior Fellow at the SMU School of Social Sciences.
Kausikan has been awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold). He also received the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins (Gran Cruz) by the President of Chile in December 2002, and the Oman Civil Merit Order (Second Class) from the Sultan of Oman in February 2013.
He used to write for The Straits Times under a variant of his name - Bee Kim Hee. "I was on a scholarship and not supposed to work. But ST paid me well. I wrote about the United Nations. I made enough in three months to live the rest of the year comfortably.