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Tharoor unfazed by Pak challenge

He dismissed latter's contention about nations seeking both the top post of the UN and permanent membership of SC.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2006 20:56 IST

Unfazed by Pakistan's move to vie for UN Secretary General's post, India's nominee Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said he would "welcome any qualified candidate" from that country or anywhere else as "merit" rather than passport will be the main qualification.

He also dismissed the Pakistani contention that there was no tradition of a large country fielding its candidate for the post of UN Secretary General or any country seeking both the top post of the world body and permanent membership of the Security Council.

"Not at all. On the contrary, the world deserves as broad a choice as possible," Tharoor, UN Under Secretary General for Communication and Public Information, said when asked whether he felt Pakistan's move to field its own candidate against him could spoil his chances.

"I welcome any qualified candidate and hope there will be many more, from Pakistan or anywhere else," he said ahead of his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior External Affairs Ministry officials during his three-day visit to New Delhi to formulate "next steps" towards ensuring his win.

The 50-year-old noted author underlined that each of the candidate, including him, "will have to stand on our own merits and will have to have own credentials, rather than our passports as the principal qualification."