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Tharoor says he is old enough for top UN job

Source: PTI
June 21, 2006 16:00 IST
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India's nominee for the post of United Nations secretary-general Shashi Tharoor has sought to allay the impression that he is too young for the top position of the world body.

"My age is right. There was a suggestion that the secretary-general should be aged between 45 years and 55 years. My age is just halfway," he said during an interaction with a group of journalists in New Delhi on Tuesday night.

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The UN undersecretary-general for communication and public information said he was three years older than the Thai candidate Surakiart Sathirathai.

Tharoor also said if he were to get elected to the top UN post, he would be an 'Indian secretary-general' and 'not India's secretary-general'.

Elaborating, he said that as a secretary-general, his job would be to be responsible to all the 191 countries and not just one.

"India has put me to a job accountable to 191 countries, not to be an agent of the Indian government," he said.

On his observation about religious nature of Indians, Tharoor said he was not regretful for saying that ancient temples and beliefs still have a hold on Indians.

"We have technology as well as mantras," he said, "I am sorry if this [observation on religion] has been seen as my indictment," he said.

He said that he treated UN reforms as an issue of fundamental importance. "The UN has changed a great deal and change is something the UN is capable of," he said.

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