London, Apr 01 : Indian diplomat Kamalesh Sharma on Tuesday took charge as the Commonwealth Secretary General, and said that his top priorities would be issues concerning women and youth as well as development challenges faced by small states.
"I intend to put the potential in sharing mutual strengths, issues of women and young people, as well as development challenges faced by small states in particular, among my priority concerns," Sharma said.
"I take up office with confidence and enthusiasm. I am grateful to the leaders of our 53 member countries for the trust they have placed in me to carry forward the work of the Commonwealth," he added.
Sharma, who served as India's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom before his appointment to the Commonwealth, succeeded Don McKinnon, who stepped down at the end of his eight-year tenure.
"It is an honour and privilege to serve this great organisation," Sharma said.
"The Commonwealth is a great global good. It is a force for genuine and creative partnership in addressing our collective challenges. I look forward to building on its strengths and achievements."
A Cambridge-educated diplomat, Sharma in his career has served as a special envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Timor Leste, acted as spokesperson for developing countries in the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) during the Uruguay Round of trade talks and chaired the working group on financing for development.