Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, who assumed charge as India’s first woman Permanent Representative to the UN here, says she looks forward to a “productive tenure” that weaves New Delhi’s national priorities into the multilateral framework during the country’s remaining Security Council tenure and beyond. Kamboj, 58, presented her credentials to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday.
A 1987-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Kamboj was previously Ambassador of India to Bhutan and was in June appointed India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, succeeding Ambassador T S Tirumurti. She assumes charge as India is half-way through the second year of its two-year term as non-permanent member of the 15-nation UN Security Council. India’s tenure at the Council will end in December when the country will also preside as President of the powerful UN organ for the month.
“I am deeply honoured to assume office as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, the more so, in this significant year when we celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence,” Kamboj said in a brief statement to PTI.Kamboj hit the ground running as she participated in an informal meeting of the Security Council on Monday, a day before she presented her credentials to the Secretary General.
“I look forward to a productive tenure weaving our national priorities into the multilateral framework over the course of the rest of our tenure in the Security Council and beyond,” she said.After her meeting with Guterres, she tweeted, “Today, (I) have presented my credentials to the Secretary General of the United Nations @antonioguterres as Permanent Representative/Ambassador to the @UN.
“A privilege to be the first Indian woman to be given the honour to hold this position. To the girls out there,we all can make it!” Kamboj is back in familiar territory as from 2002-2005 she had served as Counsellor at India’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, which she now returns to helm.A day before she presented her credentials to the UN chief, Kamboj tweeted on Monday, “Just in, as PR- designate to the @UN. Wonderful today to meet all my Ambassador friends in the Security Council. It is my deepest honour to serve my country in this new position. #India.” Tirumurti replied to her tweet, saying, “Congratulations and all good wishes for your success Ruchira! @IndiaUNNewYork.” Former UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director at UN Women Lakshmi Puri, who is among the highest ranking Indian diplomats in the UN system, described Kamboj’s appointment as “landmark” and a “new milestone” for women’s leadership at the UN.
“Setting a new milestone for India in women’s leadership @UN! Heartiest congrats to @RuchiraKamboj for becoming 1st woman PR of @IndiaUNNewYork. Landmark #HerStory moment after Smt Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit’s #UNGA Presidency. Inspiring @indiandiplomats & aspiring ones as a beacon!” Puri said in a tweet, making a reference to Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.
The veteran Indian diplomat and sister of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was the first woman to be elected President of the UN General Assembly in as early as 1953. The 193-member General Assembly has had only four female presidents in its nearly 76-year history.Kamboj was the all India women’s topper of the 1987 Civil Services batch and the topper of the foreign service batch of that year. She began her diplomatic journey in Paris, France where she was posted as the Third Secretary in the Indian Embassy to France from 1989-1991.
From Paris, she returned to Delhi where she worked as under secretary in the Europe West Division of the Ministry of External Affairs from 1991–96. From 1996-1999, she served in Mauritius as First Secretary (Economic and Commercial) and Head of Chancery at the Indian High Commission in Port Louis.
Kamboj served as the high commissioner of India to South Africa, with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdom of Lesotho from July, 2017 to March, 2019. She assumed charge as Indian envoy to Bhutan on 17 May, 2019. She has also served as India’s Ambassador to UNESCO, Paris.Kamboj joins the group of women Ambassadors at the Council including US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, UK Permanent Representative Ambassador Barbara Woodward, Norway’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York Mona Juul, UAE’s Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh.Ireland’s PR Ambassador Geraldine Nason is heading to Washington as her country’s envoy.