In the nearly seven decades between Pandit and Kamboj, Indian women have held top diplomatic positions….reports Arul Louis
When Ruchira Kamboj takes the gavel on Thursday at the Security Council, she will be following in the footsteps of an illustrious Indian woman, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit who assumed leadership of a major UN body 69 years ago.
In 1953, Pandit became the first woman President of the General Assembly and now Kamboj will become the first Indian woman to be the President of the Security Council.
“To the girls out there, we all can make it,” Kamboj tweeted when she took over as the first Indian woman Permanent Representative of India to the UN in August signalling how she is a role model.
In the nearly seven decades between Pandit and Kamboj, Indian women have held top diplomatic positions.
Indira Gandhi held the External Affairs portfolio, 1967 to 1969, and in 1984, and Sushma Swaraj, 2014 to 2019
There have also been three women foreign secretaries, Chokila Iyer, Nirupama Rao and Sujatha Singh.
At the Security Council, Kamboj is the chair of its high-profile Counter-Terrorism Committee and organised in India a rare special session outside the headquarters to bring home the dangers of international terrorism.
Before her UN assignment, she was the Ambassador to Bhutan, an important position because of its special relationship with India.
Her senior diplomatic assignments include Permanent Representative to the Unesco in Paris, high commissioner in South Africa and chief of protocol.
Outside the External Affairs Ministry, she did a stint as the deputy head of the Office of the Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
Kamboj joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1987, and from 2002 to 2005 was a Counsellor at the UN Mission.
Currently at the 15-member Security Council, four women serve with her — Lana Zaki Nuseibeh of the United Arab Emirates, Linda Thomas-Greenfield of the US, Barbara Woodward of the UK and Mona Juul of Norway.