India has been elected as head of a UN-associated body on media and communications, making it the first developing country to get the honour.
India polled 23 out of 37 votes in the elections for the Chairmanship of the 39-member Inter-Governmental Council of the International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC), which is associated with UNESCO.
India, which defeated Switzerland, will be the chair of the 30-year-old Council till its next session in 2012.
"This is for the first time in the history of IPDC that a developing country assumes the chair of the Council of the IPDC. Since its inception, the chairmanship had always remained with developed countries," a statement issued by the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting said in New Delhi on Thursday.
IPDC is the multilateral forum in the UN system, designed to mobilise the international community to discuss and promote media development, especially in developing countries.
It is supervised by the Inter-governmental Council, comprising 39 member states elected by UNESCO's General Conference. The Council is responsible for policy-making, guiding the planning and the implementation of the programme.
India's candidature was endorsed by Asia Pacific Regional Group and supported by countries from Africa, Arab and Lain American Region.
The Council implements national, regional and inter-regional projects in the areas of promotion of freedom of expression and media pluralism, development of community media, capacity building and promotion of international partnership.
On India's behalf, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Raghu Menon will be the Chairperson of the body.
India has contributed $1.4 million to IPDC Programme since its inception and is strongly committed to the Fund and its programmes.
In his acceptance speech, Menon thanked the members of the Council for reposing faith in his leadership and assured his full commitment for strengthening programme implementation under IPDC's mandates.