It's a question Shashi Tharoor deftly sidesteps now that Pakistan has threatened to nominate its own candidate: "Every country wishing to field a candidate should be encouraged to do so, because in my view the world needs as broad a choice as possible."
But what's the ground reality since Pakistan has been, and remains, one of the leading campaigners against any proposal to grant a permanent seat to India in the 15-member UN Security Council?
# How would Pakistan—a country that has fought three wars with its neighbour—perceive an Indian candidate for secretary-general in an institution where the two countries are occasionally at political loggerheads?
# Is the United Nations ready for a secretary-general from a big power, nuclear-armed nation?
# Will Tharoor be perceived as a product of a "corrupt" U.N. system which has been under fire recently for mismanagement and malfeasance?
# How will China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, react to a candidate from India, a country that has become increasingly close to the United States as a political counterweight to Beijing?