As he retired from his post of India’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN on Thursday, 1985-batch IFS officer Syed Akbaruddin bowed out with a “namaste” to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In a video call with the UN Secretary-General, the Indian envoy with folded hands and a humble ‘namaste’ won the hearts of many Indians and even the UN Secretary-General reciprocated in a similar manner.
Akbaruddin posted a video of his conversation with Guterres on Twitter. “Before I leave secretary-general I have one small last request. And that request is in the Indian tradition when we leave or when we meet we don’t say hello, or shake hands, we say Namaste, so before it ends, I want to say Namaste to you and if you can reciprocate,” Akbarduddin told Guterres, who gladly reciprocated with a “namaste”.
As India’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN, Syed Akbaruddn was India’s go-to person on matters related to multilateral diplomacy and UN specific issues.
Time to bow out, with the usual🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/BM6m7j7qQW
— Syed Akbaruddin (@AkbaruddinIndia) April 30, 2020
In recent times due to the spread of COVID-19 and physical distancing norms being enforced, the simple Indian greeting of “Namaste” has gained currency globally.
Considered to be one of the brightest minds in Indian Foreign Service, Akbaruddin is viewed as someone who converted, bland government briefings into a weekly event people used to look forward to.
As Joint Secretary (XP), he changed the face of India’s digital diplomacy and laid the foundations for a robust division within the Ministry of External Affairs.
He is considered to be an expert on Nuclear Diplomacy and has served in Vienna in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
He will be succeeded by his batchmate TS Tirumurti who is presently the Secretary (Economic Relations) in the MEA.