Bhan­dari’s re-elec­tion: In­dia bid to break UN ‘glass ceil­ing’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - | POLITICS POLICY - In­drani.Bagchi@ times­

New Delhi: The stale­mate over the Dalveer Bhan­dari elec­tion to the UN’s In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice has un­der­scored two things — first, the un­stop­pable shift of power to coun­tries like In­dia and sec­ond, the re­luc­tance of the ear­lier regime to ac­cept the change.

In the 70 years of the UN’s ex­is­tence, never has a can­di­date be­long­ing to the elite P5 group been ab­sent from the court. The bat­tle be­tween the last two can­di­dates left in the field, Dalveer Bhan­dari of In­dia and Christo­pher Green­wood of the UK is symp­to­matic of this global ten­sion. Af­ter the last round of bal­lot­ing, Bhan­dari logged 121 votes in the UN gen­eral as­sem­bly, mov­ing up from 116 in the last round, a trib­ute to In­dia’s sus­tained mul­ti­lat­eral diplo­macy. Green­wood’s num­bers were re­duced from 76 to 68. How­ever in the UNSC, In­dia lags five votes to Green­wood’s nine with one ab­sten­tion.

The num­bers at the UNSC have re­mained un­changed and are im­por­tant for a cou­ple of things. First, In­dia has not lost the sup­port it has al­ready gath­ered, and sec­ond, the P5 are un­likely to aban­don one of their own.

PM Modi has kept up a sus­tained cam­paign for Bhan­dari’s re-elec­tion, hav­ing raised it at var­i­ous sum­mit meet­ings with key UNSC mem­bers. But as In­dia dis­cov­ered dur­ing the NSG ad­mis­sion process, break­ing the sta­tus quo will re­main an up­hill task for some time to come. The process moves to a con­sul­ta­tion for the next round to break the dead­lock. Of­fi­cials there said there is a pro­vi­sion for a “joint con­fer­ence”, though no­body is clear how they will re­solve this. In order to be elected to ICJ, a can­di­date must ob­tain sim­ple ma­jor­ity in the both the or­gans of the UN. That is, a suc­cess­ful can­di­date must get 97 votes in the gen­eral as­sem­bly and eight votes in the UNSC.

In nor­mal cir­cum­stances, the ev­i­dent mo­men­tum in Bhan­dari’s favour should have been able to swing one or two UNSC votes. But the have not budged from po­si­tions. But the very fact that In­dia, a non-P5, has pre­vented a sweep by the UK tells of an un­fold­ing in­evitabil­ity — if not Bhan­dari, In­dia has shown that the P5 glass ceil­ing can­not pos­si­bly sus­tain for too long.


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