PM Modi scripted In­dia’s vic­tory over UK in UN

The Sunday Guardian - - The Big Story - CON­TIN­UED FROM P1

by the Pak­istan army on trumpedup charges was crit­i­cal in mak­ing PM Modi aware of the need to en­sure that In­dia not lose its seat at the ICJ, which was why cam­paign­ing be­gan in earnest only after the Jad­hav case got re­ferred to the ICJ. In con­trast, the Le­banese can­di­date, who was elected rather than Bhan­dari ear­lier in the polling process, had be­gun his cam­paign more than three years be­fore, and had dur­ing this pe­riod se­cured the sup­port of enough mem­bers of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly and Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to en­able him to move past the In­dian can­di­date in the bal­lot­ing. The Modi gov­ern­ment re­fused to suc­cumb to in­for­mal pres­sure by the P-5 and by some other coun­tries to with­draw from the con­test and there­fore make the elec­tion of six judges unan­i­mous. Ac­cord­ing to those in­volved in the ICJ cam­paign, pres­sure from Lon­don to with­draw was con­tin­u­ous up to the fi­nal days of the con­test, peak­ing dur­ing Septem­ber. Th­ese ef­forts got re­duced only after it be­came clear that Modi was firm that In­dia would re­main in the con­test, even against a P-5 mem­ber such as the UK, and even when there was a sig­nif­i­cant risk of In­dia los­ing. Among the Asian coun­tries, the most stead­fast in de­fence of the Bri­tish can­di­date was Japan, which to the end backed Christo­pher Green­wood in line with Tokyo’s pol­icy of march­ing in lock­step with the vic­tors of the 1939-45 global war. An­other fac­tor was the Bri­tish royal fam­ily, which is close to the Ja­panese royal fam­ily. In­deed, sev­eral coun­tries across the globe that have monar­chs as tit­u­lar heads of state—es­pe­cially in the Arab states— backed the UK solely on the grounds of the lat­ter be­ing a monar­chy like them­selves. In con­trast, the Com­mon­wealth link failed to se­cure any ad­van­tage for Lon­don, with most of the mem­bers of that group­ing, es­pe­cially from Africa, re­main­ing with In­dia. Through­out, Pak­istan worked in tan­dem with the UK in or­der to seek the de­feat of In­dia, ex­pend­ing con­sid­er­able ef­fort in the process.

On the In­dian side, once in mid-June the Prime Min­is­ter gave the com­mand to go full steam on the Bhan­dari nom­i­na­tion, Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj, Min­is­ters of State V.K. Singh and M.J. Ak­bar, For­eign Sec­re­tary Subra­ma­niam Jais­hankar and UN Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Syed Ak­barud­din worked seam­lessly in con­vinc­ing UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly mem­bers that the hour had ar­rived to show the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil that it could not have a mo­nop­oly of power over an in­sti­tu­tion with nearly 200 ac­tive mem­bers, an ar­gu­ment that res­onated with mem­bers un­easy with the sense of en­ti­tle­ment and ar­ro­gance in func­tion­ing of the Per­ma­nent Five mem­bers of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, who as a group have been re­sist­ing re­form of the UN for close to two decades. Sushma Swaraj made nearly 60 calls to UNGA mem­bers, while both Singh and Ak­bar worked hard within their zones of re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure sup­port for Bhan­dari. Both For­eign Sec­re­tary Jais­hankar and Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ak­barud­din fol­lowed the Prime Min­is­ter’s lead and worked long and hard to en­sure the shock de­feat of the UK can­di­date, the first time a UNSC can­di­date from the P-5 had been bested by a can­di­date from the UNGA. As ex­pected, both Aus­tralia as well as New Zealand put eth­nic link­ages first and stood by Green­wood over Bhan­dari to the last, al­though Canada under Justin Trudeau was more cir­cum­spect. Prime Min­is­ter Modi gave him­self the task of tack­ling the core of Green­wood’s sup­port, which was the P-5 in the UNSC. He per­son­ally brought up the ICJ mat­ter to each of the five lead­ers of the coun­tries in­volved. In­ter­est­ingly, not even China (which has for long tied it­self to the Pak­istani band­wagon) re­fused Modi’s re­quest to sup­port Dalveer Bhan­dari, al­though al­most to the end, Bei­jing gave its diplo­matic back­ing to the UK. Un­til pulled up by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump him­self, who has in­vested con­sid­er­able ef­fort in forg­ing an al­liance with In­dia, the Per­ma­nent Mis­sion of the United States in the UN worked daily in seek­ing the de­feat of Bhan­dari. This was de­spite it be­ing headed by Nikki Ha­ley, whose ear­lier avatar of Nam­rata Rand­hawa was In­dian in eth­nic­ity. Am­bas­sador Ha­ley per­son­ally gave com­plete back­ing to Green­wood over her eth­nic cousin Dalveer Bhan­dari, un­til the fi­nal stages, when it took a com­mand from the White House to make her change her stance.

Pres­i­dent Trump in­ter­vened on In­dia’s be­half when it be­came ob­vi­ous that 2/3rd of UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly mem­bers favoured In­dia. Un­fazed by such sup­port, the UK sought to in­voke the con­fer­ence route, whereby the much big­ger UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly would have only the same rep­re­sen­ta­tion as the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. How­ever, both Moscow and Wash­ing­ton op­posed such a move, aware that it would not only anger Delhi, but pro­voke re­sent­ment within the UNGA, which since the time of the Ge­orge W. Bush war and sub­se­quent oc­cu­pa­tion of Iraq has been forced to as­sume a pow­er­less role.

Among the fac­tors that worked against Green­wood was that the ju­rist was an en­thu­si­as­tic backer of that war, jus­ti­fy­ing on shaky le­gal grounds Prime Min­is­ter Tony Blair’s de­ci­sion to march be­hind Bush in launch­ing the 2003 war that sent Iraq into chaos. This ever faith­ful “human poo­dle” of US pol­i­cy­mak­ers was sub­se­quently re­warded by a well-pay­ing UN po­si­tion in recog­ni­tion of the way in which he fol­lowed Wash­ing­ton’s lead on the Iraq war with­out hes­i­ta­tion. Be­sides the monar­chies, an- other bloc that stood by the UK was East­ern Europe, where ques­tions of eth­nic­ity are still im­por­tant. In con­trast, sev­eral west­ern Euro­pean coun­tries broke away from the UK and grav­i­tated to­wards In­dia. Th­ese were led by France, which under the youth­ful Em­manuel Macron has been try­ing to as­sume a global lead­er­ship role as dur­ing the De Gaulle era, and in the process cul­ti­vat­ing the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Pres­i­dent Macron was the sec­ond among the P-5 lead­ers to sense the groundswell of re­sent­ment against the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil for usurp­ing the pow­ers that ought to have re­mained with the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, which is the ac­tual but largely ig­nored heart of the UN sys­tem. He was pre­ceded by In­dia’s all-weather friend, Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin of Rus­sia, who early in the process sig­nalled Moscow’s un­will­ing­ness to dam­age Moscow’s cor­dial re­la­tions with In­dia by back­ing a UNSC mem­ber- coun­try can­di­date, who saw his In­dian com­peti­tor in­crease his UNGA lead over him with ev­ery round of vot­ing, to the level where an­other round would have led to a 2/3rd vote for Bhan­dari against Green­wood.

Fi­nally, only China was left by the UK’s side, but even Bei­jing un­der­stood that back­ing the UNSC can­di­date over the UNGA’s favourite would dam­age its stand­ing as a cham­pion of the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Bei­jing, there­fore, joined with the US and Rus­sia in op­pos­ing the move by Lon­don to take the con­test to a UNGA-UNSC con­fer­ence with three mem­bers from each side. The UK judge’s po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated sup­port for the Iraq war on spe­cious grounds was dis­sem­i­nated ex­ten­sively among UNGA mem­bers by nu­mer­ous del­e­ga­tions, and played a role in most of the Mus­lim- ma­jor­ity coun­tries ig­nor­ing the in­creas­ingly fran­tic ef­forts of GHQ Rawalpindi, act­ing through the civil­ian gov­ern­ment in Pak­istan, to se­cure the vic­tory of the UK judge. Green­wood’s term was end­ing, but he wanted a fresh in­nings in the ICJ. Of the 58 Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries, more than 40 even­tu­ally backed In­dia over the UK, many out of dis­gust at Green­wood’s role as an apol­o­gist for the 2003 Iraq war launched by Bush and Blair after giv­ing false ev­i­dence to the UN through Sec­re­tary of State Colin Pow­ell.

Now that the UNGA has shown that it has the ca­pac­ity to chal­lenge the dom­i­nance of the UNSC if it has the req­ui­site num­bers, Prime Min­is­ter Modi is qui­etly look­ing at UN re­form, in­clud­ing en­sur­ing for In­dia a per­ma­nent berth in the UNSC. The vic­tory of Dalveer Bhan­dari was the opposite of what took place in 1971 dur­ing the Bangladesh cri­sis, when al­most the en­tire UNGA voted against In­dia. In the ICJ episode, that was re­versed, with al­most the en­tire UNGA (183 mem­bers ex­actly) vot­ing with the can­di­date en­joy­ing the back­ing of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.