India’s Dalveer Bhandari was on Tuesday re-elected to the International Court of Justice with more than two-thirds of the UN members backing him, forcing Britain to withdraw its candidate amidst high drama in the hard-fought race to the world court.
In one of the country’s “biggest diplomatic victories” in the multilateral arena, Bhandari received 183 of the 193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council to fill the final vacancy in the Hague-based International Court of Justice, after separate but simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters here.
Bhandari, 70, was declared re-elected for a fresh nine- year term after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood from the race about an hour before the scheduled voting.
According to observers, Bhandari’s victory has sent a strong message to the leading powers about the winds of change in the world and underscored the point that India is now a force to reckon with.
The ICJ has a bench of 15 judges, five of whom are elected every three years for a nine-year term. To be elected, the candidate needs majority in both the chambers. Established in 1945, the role of the ICJ is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions.
Soon after the election results were announced, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin was congratulated by representatives of other countries on the floor of the General Assembly. “Vande Matram – India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind,” tweeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.