Pawar is a former Indian defence minister
Sharad Pawar has taken over as the new president of the International Cricket Council after succeeding David Morgan.
The ex-head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India will serve for two years, including the 2011 World Cup.
The 69-year-old assumed his duties from Welshman Morgan at the ICC's annual conference in Singapore.
Pawar's appointment comes shortly after former Australia prime minister John Howard's bid to become the next vice-president was rejected on Wednesday.
Pawar's promotion means the next vice-president must come from Australasia as part of the ICC's rotating policy of presidents.
However, both New Zealand and Australia were told to come up with an alternative candidate after Howard's application was rejected by the ICC's executive board, which consists of the 10 chairman from Test-playing nations.
Both countries have until 31 August to submit an alternative candidate, with New Zealander Sir John Anderson heading the list.
Pawar, who served as Morgan's understudy for two years, becomes the second Indian to hold the president's after Jagmohan Dalmiya, who held the post between 1997 and 2000.
The former chief minister for the state of Maharastra served as president of the BCCI between 2005 and 2008, when he was succeeded by current incumbent Shashank Manohar.
He takes over from ex-England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Morgan, who became ICC president in June 2008, overseeing two successful World Twenty20 tournaments.
"David Morgan has set the principles by which the ICC operates and now it is our responsibility to build on his legacy," said Pawar, who becomes the seventh ICC president.
Morgan wished his former vice-president luck and added: "In the past few days many people have thanked me for my contribution to cricket.
"All I would say is that cricket has been kind to me - it has given me much more than I have given back."