"It's a matter of pride if a son of India and son of Asia becomes United Nations Secretary General," said Navtej Sarna, spokesman for the ministry of external affairs, while making an official announcement of India's support to Shashi Tharoor, Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information at the United nations, confirming what rediff.com had reported on Wednesday.
Giving the reasons behind the support, he said, "India strongly supports the principle of regional rotation under which the next Secretary General should be from Asia."
He said, "India also believes that a prospective UN Secretary General should have impeccable credentials, be acceptable to broadest possible membership of the UN and have a strong commitment to UN reforms and the interest of developing countries. It is within this framework that India has decided to announce the candidature of Shashi Tharoor."
He also said that the Asian group within the UN had approached other groups seeking support for principle of regional rotation. The African group has already confirmed its support. India hopes that other regional groups will also articulate support for the rotation principle.
He said that Tharoor is a distinguished son of Asia who has served the UN in diverse capacities since 1978.
During his long innings at UN, Tharoor has held a number of key positions in various areas including peacekeeping, at the UN High Commission for Refugees and UN's Communications Strategy with particular responsibility for ensuring coherent and effectiveness of the UN's external message.
The MEA spokesman said that Tharoor has been closely involved in the process of reforms at UN. He is a well-known writer and author of eight books. He is the recipient of several journalism and literary awards including the Commonwealth Writer's Prize. In 1998, the World Economic Forum at Davos had declared him as a global leader of tomorrow.
Born in London in 1956, he was educated in India and US. He has two masters' degrees and a PhD.
"Tharoor has an internationally acclaimed stature and experience that makes him eminently suitable to become next Secretary General."
He also said that India has informed other members of UN through diplomatic channels of Tharoor's candidature and requested support.
When asked if by supporting Tharoor's candidature India will dilute the issue of membership of UN Securty Council he replied, "These are two separate issues and it is incorrect to perceive India's support to one will dilute commitment to the other. India is strongly committed to comprehensive reforms and believes that reforms and expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories is central to UN reforms."
He claimed that, 'There is widespread and growing appreciation for India's impeccable credentials to become a permanent member of Security Council. India continues its engagement with G4 States."
When asked about other likely candidates and issue of other nations' support, he said, 'The pros and cons have been taken into consideration before deciding to support Shashi Tharoor."