Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday acknowledged that it may not be a smooth contest for India's nominee Shashi Tharoor in getting the coveted UN Secretary General's post.
"I wouldn't say it is going to be an easy fight" for Tharoor, he told reporters on board his special aircraft while returning from St Petersburg.
Tharoor is pitted against three Asian candidates from Thailand, Sri Lanka and South Korea.
"But it is the turn of Asia to have a Secretary General and another chance will come for an Asian candidate only after 40 years," Singh said adding therefore India decided to field its nominee before the world.
Describing Tharoor as an "outstanding candidate," Singh said he had tremendous experience in matters relating to security, peacekeeping and other aspects of UN functioning.
"So we feel that as part of the UN for thirty years, he does qualify to preside over reforms of the UN," he said.
On Tharoor's chances, he said "quite honestly, I cannot say as of now that we have an easy job in our pocket."