New Delhi: Syed Akbaruddin, on Monday, presented his credentials to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the 21st Permanent Representative of India to the world body.
Mr Ban welcomed him, saying that he appreciated India’s significant role at the United Nations as a long-trusted partner of the multilateral system.
Reiterating India’s commitment to the UN, Akbaruddin assured Ban his fullest support to help fulfill the priorities and aims Ban had set for this year, including the quest for peaceful political solutions for international problems and working towards the developmental goals of Agenda 2030.
Akbaruddin brings to the crucial diplomatic posting at the heart of the 193-member organisation a trove of rich experience and contacts from his stints at an international body, as the organiser of the recent India-Africa Summit and from serving as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s de facto spokesperson during his many foreign tours.
Akbaruddin, India’s 21st permanent representative at the UN, has succeeded Asoke Kumar Mukerji who retired at the end of last year.
This is the second turn at the UN for Akbaruddin after joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1985.
From 1995 to 1998, Mr Akbaruddin served as the first secretary in India’s UN Mission where he focused on Security Council reform, a matter that assumes urgency in his current role as the long-delayed process is finally gaining traction.
Another major area where his contribution has been remarkable in 1990s assignment was peacekeeping, which continues to be a crucial contribution to the UN by India.
Currently, 7,798 Indians are serving in UN peacekeeping operations. India has been the biggest contributor to UN peacekeeping, having sent more than 180,000 Indian troops to 48 of the 69 UN missions so far.
Akbaruddin also brings an insider’s insight into the workings of international organisations from his work at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna from 2006 to 2011. He worked at the IAEA as the head of external relations and as the special assistant to the director-general.
Recently at External Affairs Ministry, he was the Chief Coordinator of the India-Africa Forum Summit held last October in New Delhi with the participation of all 54 African nations. Africa being the largest single group at the UN, this experience gave him a rich Rolodex of contacts.
Before that he was the External Affairs Ministry’ official spokesperson from 2012 to 2015 when he attended several multilateral and bilateral meetings at the ministerial and prime ministerial levels. Since Modi does not have a prime ministerial spokesperson, Akbaruddin also served as his spokesperson during Modi’s hectic itinerary of international visits.
Akbaruddin’s diplomatic postings include Counsellor at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and various positions in missions in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.(IANS)