A 1975 batch IFS officer, Katju was joint secretary in the MEA in charge of Iran, Pakistan and and Afghanistan for six years.
Katju headed the team of Indian officials who had gone to Kandahar to negotiate the release of passengers of the Indian Airlines plane hijacked to the southern Afghan city in December 1999.
India snapped diplomatic ties with Afghanistan in 1996 soon after the Taliban took over Kabul. Aris Qamrain was at that time India's Ambassador to Afghanistan.
India opened a liasion office in Kabul soon after the Northern Alliance captured the city. This was converted into the embassy on December 22 last year, the day the Hamid Karzai-led interim government in Aafghanistan was installed, re-establishing the diplomatic relations.