November 24, 2007 / 9:05 AM / 11 years ago

Indian diplomat to be new head of Commonwealth

KAMPALA, Nov 24 (Reuters) - The 53-nation Commonwealth of mainly former British colonies on Saturday appointed an Indian diplomat, Kamalesh Sharma, as its next secretary-general.

Sharma, the Indian High Commissioner in London, will take over on April 1 from New Zealand’s Don McKinnon, who has done the job for two terms, or eight years.

“It is a tough job I have taken over but I do so with confidence and enthusiasm ... the Commonwealth is a great global good,” Sharma said when his appointment was announced by McKinnon during a summit of the group in Uganda.

The Commonwealth’s members represent 1.8 billion people, or more than a quarter of the world’s population.

Sharma beat Maltese Foreign Minister Michael Frendo to the job. (Reporting by Barry Moody)

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