Victory or Loss: Dalveer Bhandari's Re-election to ICJ

Justice Dalveer Bhandari of India, got elected again for a nine-year term in a hotly contested election between India and the UK. The elections don’t politically mean anything yet there is a new political discourse that will follow the walk-over of Justice Bhandari.

Looking at the background of the current election statistics, the UK’s candidate Justice Christopher Greenwood, secured an overwhelming majority in the UN Security Council, yet Justice Bhandari stood at an overwhelming response in the 193 member UN General Assembly.

The UK in a tizzy sought to call a joint meeting of the UNSC and the UNGA, yet there was no clarity on procedure to select six representatives from the UNGA. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, is now headed for the second term. He is being lauded as one of the most influential judges of the ICJ who have given the powers of the ICJ a new momentum, and played a constructive role in facilitating international dispute resolution.

Though it remains a clear fact that a judge in the ICJ does not act politically for any purposes, and the integrity of the office does not attach itself with any national bias, the victory of Justice Bhandari has a more meaning to the overall global picture.

The ICJ has been famous for its dominance by the judges hailing from the UK, and UK has secured its position at the bench since the inception of the ICJ. Yet, the clout of the UK seems to have been waning as it is ready to exit the European Union.

The Brexit has led to an overall weakening of the British influence in the power circles, as Britain had actively played a role in the development of the block, and led the way to a sound economic grouping in the post-WW II economy.

The largest economy of the EU remains the Germany, which is followed by the UK, is now to see a whole new economic rhetoric. Post Brexit, the Britain needs to find new trade partners and has to balance its economy in tune with the closed barrier trade followed till now.

The British had seen a debacle in the June voting at the UN, which came right after the results for Brexit vote came out. After the recent lobbying for the ICJ vote, UK chose to withdraw its candidate and give a walk over to India’s Justice Bhandari.

Prince Charles was also in India recently to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the meeting was a silent affair, the British Commonwealth of Nations had lost its significance as being a white man’s gathering long ago, and the British had never perceived a world outside the EU.

Now, the victory for the Indian Justice Dalveer Bhandari, is not to be read as a victory actually, when at the UN nobody loses or wins, but actually, there is a price for everything. This implies that India will pay the British, their favour of giving a walk over in some kind. India is keen to secure a berth at the UNSC, which cannot come for free. Further, Americans are backed by China as their ultimate consumption destination.

The British economy is also a consumption based economy which implies that they will have to find a partner for bilateral trade to survive the Post-Brexit escalation. India is opening up its doors for economies willing to invest in India, while UK is looking for trade partners outside the EU bloc.

The Indians have shared a deep anguish for over years with the British which needs to be pacified and taken to new levels if India and Britain need to improve their ties and put forward a strong relationship. The weakening UK will exchange many favours in return for economic strengthening in the year to come with India.

Thus, nobody wins or loses at the UN.


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