On Wednesday, the incoming UN general assembly president, Maldivian foreign minister Abdulla Shahid, named Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer K Nagaraj Naidu as chef de cabinet for the duration of his one-year term to lead the world body through its return to normalcy as countries strive to bring the pandemic under control.
Shahid tweeted, “Today, I have appointed ambassador Thilmeeza Hussain as a special envoy of the PGA, and ambassador Nagaraj Naidu Kumar as my chef de cabinet. They will be instrumental in delivering my vision for the #PresidencyOfHope.”
Hussain is the Maldives’ permanent representative to the United Nations and also serves as the country’s ambassador to the United States and Canada.
Naidu is India’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, and he will be on loan to the UN for a role similar to the Indian prime minister’s principal secretary, who manages the cabinet bureaucracy; also similar to the US president’s chief of staff. Most likely he will be the first Indian diplomat to hold this position, and his appointment reflects India’s growing importance in the international community.
In January, India began its eighth two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United States Security Council, with the implicit objective of bolstering its claim to permanent membership in the world’s most elite club of nations.
Naidu’s leadership of the UN general assembly bureaucracy will be crucial at a time when the international body is attempting to regain its footing as Covid-19 is gradually brought under control.
S Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, was virtually present at the UN General Assembly’s most recent session.