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Chak De India! UK gets ICJ jolt 1st time in 71 Years

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ICJSagarSpeaks: For many, re-election of Justice Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was a regular affair. They refuse to take it as a success saying India had representation at the ICJ many times in the past. But, what they selectively ignore is the fact that P5 nation Britain failed to send a Judge to the ICJ for the first time in its 71-year history.

While other judges Ronny Abraham (France), Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil), Christopher Greenwood (UK), Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) were nominated for re-election long ago (several months and years), India was a late entrant.

India decided on Bhandari’s re-nomination only a few weeks before the July 3 deadline. This despite that India’s seat for Asia Pacific group already had a contender in the form of Lebanon’s permanent representative, Nawaf Salam. Thanks to the Kulbhushan Jadhav episode, India wanted to strengthen its presence at the ICJ and it wanted the position at any cost.

Lobbying was intense and it started months ago for others and they managed to get the support too. India’s case was very weak and even analysts called it a bad move. But, the government did not give up. While France, Brazil, Somalia and Lebanon made it after a few rounds of voting, the final battle was between India and UK.

The UK, which never surrendered its seat at the ICJ and has been a permanent member there, went all out to gain support from 5 permanent members of the UNSC so that it could block India’s efforts, but in vain. Thanks to hard efforts by the officials and intense lobbying at various levels, India stayed ahead of UK in all rounds of voting, forcing Britain to withdraw its candidate.

If it’s not a diplomatic victory, what else?