Sushma stayed awake as drama unfolded in New York

Sushma stayed awake as drama unfolded in New York

External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj stayed awake till late on Monday night, so did several senior officials of her ministry.

Sushma was constantly in touch with Syed Akbaruddin, India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as the drama unfolded at the UN headquarters in New York.

She went to sleep around 2.45 am only after Akbaruddin confirmed over the phone that India's candidate, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, had won the election to fill the last vacancy in the panel of judges at the International Court of Justice.

But just before going to bed, she broke the news of India's major diplomatic victory on Twitter.

"Vande Mataram“ India wins election to the International Court of Justice. Jai Hind," Sushma tweeted at 2.36 am.

Bhandari, 70, has been a judge at the ICJ since June 2012. India nominated the former Supreme Court Judge for re-election to the 15-member panel of the principal judicial organ of the UN.

New Delhi mounted a major diplomatic blitzkrieg over the past few weeks to secure support from the UN member-nations for Bhandari, who was locked in a contest with United Kingdom's nominee Christopher Greenwood.

Akbaruddin and other officials at the Permanent Mission of India were at the frontline of the campaign.

They secured the support of almost two-third members of the United Nations General Assembly.

The United Kingdom, one of the five permanent members of the 20-member Security Council, however, managed to ensure that most of the members of the most powerful body of the UN supported Greenwood.

"Congratulations to Justice Dalveer Bhandari on his re-election as a Judge of the ICJ. Huge efforts by Team - MEA. Syed Akbaruddin @AkbaruddinIndia our Permanent Representative in UN deserves a special mention," Sushma tweeted later on Tuesday.

Sushma and her team at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) received a pat from Prime Minister Narendra Modi too.

"Congratulations to EAM @SushmaSwaraj and her entire team at MEA & diplomatic missions for their untiring efforts that have led to India's re-election to ICJ. Our deep gratitude to all the members of UNGA as well as UNSC for their support and trust in India," Modi tweeted.

Sushma kick-started the campaign for Bhandari when she attended the United Nations General Assembly in September and held bilateral meetings with her counterparts from a large number of countries on the sideline of the annual conclave ostensibly seeking support for New Delhi's candidate.

Also, she continued to coordinate efforts to secure support for Bhandari from New Delhi.

The MEA asked India's diplomatic missions around the world to engage with the governments of the host countries to ensure support for the ICJ election.

The election to the ICJ panel of judges took a dramatic turn when Bhandari's rival Greenwood withdrew from the contest just before the voting began.

Some of Greenwood's supporters in the Security Council were no longer keen to publicly oppose India's candidate.

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