Kamalesh Sharma takes over as Commonwealth secretary-generalApril 1st, 2008 - 2:32 pm ICT by admin
By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, April 1 (IANS) Indian diplomat Kamalesh Sharma took office as the Commonwealth secretary-general Tuesday, saying he was he was full of “confidence and enthusiasm”. Sharma, who succeeded Don McKinnon of New Zealand, is the first Asian to head the 53-nation group and the first Indian to take up a leadership role of such a large and important international body.
“I take up office with confidence and enthusiasm. I am grateful to the leaders of our 53 member countries for the trust they have placed in me to carry forward the work of the Commonwealth,” said Sharma, who was India’s high commissioner to Britain when he was picked for the job in November last year.
“The Commonwealth is a great global good. It is a force for genuine and creative partnership in addressing our collective challenges. I look forward to building on its strengths and achievements,” he added.
The new secretary-general said he intended to put the potential in sharing mutual strengths, issues of women and young people, as well as development challenges faced by small states in particular, among his priority concerns.
“I will encourage innovativeness and resourcefulness,” he said.
Sharma, a Delhi and Cambridge-educated diplomat, has served as a special envoy of the United Nations secretary-general to Timor-Leste, acted as spokesperson for developing countries in the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) during the Uruguay Round of trade talks, and chaired the working group on Financing for Development that led to the Monterrey Consensus.