For an ascendant power, every rung of the ladder counts. India scored a significant victory on Friday winning en election to a prestigious UN body by a huge margin.
Shashikant Sharma, comptroller and auditor general, was elected to the UN Board of Auditors getting 124 of the 186 votes for a six-year term starting next July.
Indian officials at the UN, who worked hard on the election, called the victory a “tribute to India’s global standing”, continuing the winning streak starting 2010.
That’s when India was elected to one of the 15 non-permanent positions on the the UN Security Council (India wants a permanent slot). The term ended in December 2012.
In November 2011, India’s permanent representative to the UN offices in Geneva, A Gopinathan, beat China for a five-year stint on the UN’s Joint Inspection Unit.
A few months later, India’s Justice Dalveer Bhandari was elected to the International Court of Justice by the UN general assembly with another big margin.
Justice Bhandari’s opponent in that contest was Justice Feliciano C Florentino of the Philippines. And it was again a Filipino that Sharma beat on Friday in his election.
“This was a difficult election,” said a source, “as the Philippines candidate is a woman and her campaigners pitched it as a chance for the UN to elect a woman to the board.”
Maria Gracia M Pulido-Tan, chairperson of the Philippines commission on audit, lost in the end, getting a third of the votes. At home, top three members of her commission are all women.
The board of auditors was set up in 1946 to audit accounts of the UN and its many wings and sub-groups, specially critical now as members look hard at the world body’s expenses.
India, which last sat on the board in 1993, replaces China on the board -- in the slot set aside for Asia and the Pacific. The other two members are from the UK and Tanzania.