Answer by Nikhil Deshmukh:
It is actually a tough question. In a way that nobody on Quora would have that kind of knowledge – 'all the greatest bureaucrats across the world'. It is humanly impossible and equally undesirable.
I have an idea to overcome this difficulty. If political enthusiasts from all the countries come forward and contribute to this question, then we might reach somewhere close to the overall answer which question seeks for.
Before I go forward in answering this question, I'd like to make myself clear on few things. Firstly, greatest bureaucrats are associated with popular bureaucrats. Bureaucrats who were closely linked to their famous political bosses are generally popular. This doesn't mean the work of all other unpopular bureaucrats is any less significant. It is just that they chose to remain aloof from politics and media, and focused their energy on administrative work, which is their core area. Secondly, popular bureaucrats are often controversial statesman. Their image and reputation is perceived differently in their home, and in foreign country. Debates on this would lead us no where. Thirdly, I have limited knowledge on this subject and my answer is from a viewpoint of my home country and sources generated within there.
I therefore request fellow Quorans to see my answer through above mentioned perspective.
Two names immediately pop up in my head, when we talk of greatest bureaucrats in India.
V. K. Krishna Menon ()
V. P. Menon ( , )
They both played a stupendous role in building modern India, just after independence, when challenges in front of India seemed unfathomable.
V. K. Krishna Menon
1. An intellectual statesman in international relations
2. Right hand of India's first Prime Minister – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
3. Main architect in shaping Non Alignment Movement
4. Important role in resolving Kashmir issue, Goa liberation and Suez Crisis
5. His constant hard work in foreign diplomacy after independence, helped India in building formidable position in international arena
All in all, we owe a great deal to V. K. Krishna Menon for India's current status and prestige in global world
V. P. Menon
1. Political advisor to last viceroy of India – Lord Mountbatten
2. After Independence, right hand of Sardar Patel
3. Suggested 'freedom with partition' plan when Indian leaders were finding hard to decide on type of political system free India should adopt
4. Executed the plan brilliantly and succeeded in granting dominion status to India
5. Assisted Sardar Patel in integrating more than 500 princely states into India
All in all, we owe a great deal to V. P. Menon for current map of India