Hillary Clinton takes over as US secretary of state

Washington: With an overwhelming majority from the Senate backing her nomination, former first lady and New York Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was sworn in as secretary of state replacing Condoleezza Rice. Clinton's swearing-in took place within an hour of her confirmation by the Senate.

The US Senate voted in her favour by an overwhelming majority of 94-2 votes. Interestingly, the Republican senator from Texas, John Cornyn, who blocked a voice vote on Tuesday, voted in favour of Clinton.

Hillary Rodham ClintonHillary Rodham Clinton now becomes the 67th secretary of state. She also becomes the first former first lady to hold this position.

During her confirmation hearings before a Senate committee Hillary has already suggested that America would be ready to start using "Smart Power." This, essentially, is a mix of hard and soft policy options that seeks to provide more nuanced options in policy matters rather than the unilateralism displayed by the previous administration in its relationships with nations across the globe.

Clinton has already received a ringing endorsement from senator John Kerry, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who said Hillary demonstrated an impressive grasp of the complex foreign policy issues faced by the country today.

He said that Hillary Clinton was also likely to make a formidable secretary of state.

"She has the stature to project America's leadership globally and to help build alliances, at home and abroad, that will be vital to our success in the years ahead," Kerry said.