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India names Tharoor for UN top job

He is currently the UN Under-Secy-General for Communications and Public Information.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 13:02 IST

India on Thursday nominated UN Under Secretary General Shashi Tharoor for the post of UN chief while seeking support of Asian countries to the principle of regional rotation for the key post.

Under this principle, the next UN head should be from Asia when the present Secretary General Kofi Anan demits office, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.

A final decision on the candidate for the top UN post is expected by October. Tharoor is the first Indian to be nominated for the post.

The government decision, Sarna said, was based on the fact that Tharoor has impeccable credentials and meets with India's desire to have the august body headed by "a person with strong commitment to UN reforms and the interests of the developing countries".

A well-known columnist and author of eight books, Tharoor has handled several important areas in the UN since 1978 including peacekeeping, human rights and communication strategy.

He has also been closely involved in the process of UN reforms and was a key aide to Annan.

Sarna said India has already approached other UN member countries through diplomatic channels to seek support for Tharoor's candidature.

India is hopeful of getting the support, given Tharoor's "internationally acclaimed stature" and the fact that under the principle of regional rotation the next UN secretary general should be from Asia, he said.

"India strongly supports the principle of regional rotation under which the next secretary general of the UN should be from Asia. The Asian group within the UN had approached other groups seeking their support for this principle and the African group has already confirmed its support."

"We hope that other regional groups would also articulate support for the rotational principle," Sarna said.

First Published: Jun 16, 2006 12:59 IST