Shri M J Akbar has served as Minister of State for External Affairs of India since July 2016. He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in March 2014 and became the party’s national spokesperson. He was elected as MP to the Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand in July 2015 and was elected for another term as MP from Madhya Pradesh in July 2016. Previously he was elected to the Lok Sabha for Kishanganj, Bihar in 1989. In March 2006, he joined the Brookings Institution in Washington DC as a Visiting Fellow in the Brookings Project on US Policy towards the Islamic World. He is a distinguished writer who has authored several books on the Indian subcontinent’s complex history and the turbulent interaction between faith and definitions of nationalism, including India: The Siege Within; Nehru: The Making of India; and Kashmir: Behind the Vale. He holds a BA in English from the Presidency College in Kolkata.