India has lost its way in the use of international law.
GS-2: Important International Institutions, agencies and fora – their Structure, Mandate.
India’s achievement in International law sphere:
- India’s Constitution makers in Article 51 provided that the state shall foster respect for international law.
- India organized the first Asian-African Conference at Bandung in 1955,for the end of colonialism and for the principle of self-determination in international law.
- India proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that shaped international law on terrorism.
- India tried to influence international environmental law through International Solar Alliance (ISA).
Issues in India’s India’s engagement with international law:
- Euro-centric nature of international law.
- Marginal use of International law and vocabulary in articulating its national interests internationally.
- Generalist diplomats and policy-makers failed to extensively employ the international law vocabulary unlike their western counterparts. For Example: India failed to use the international law vocabulary to call out Chinese transgressions of India’s sovereignty.
- Even in dealing with Pakistan’s aggression India did not mention international law except in Kulbhushan Jadhav case where it sued Pakistan at the International Court of Justice.
- Barring a few initiatives such as the CCIT and ISA India failed to develop and contribute new international law doctrines, interpretations, and principles that suit its national interests.
- Institutional bottlenecks due to generalist diplomats and understaffed legal and treaties (L&T) division: Parliamentary Standing Committee report on External Affairs,2021 points out that the L&T division has a strength of 13 offices as opposed to an approved strength of 23.
- Fragmented decision-making in international law due to involvement of several Ministries.
- Poor state-capacity due to neglect of international law discipline: International law academics have failed to popularize international law.
- The Law Ministry should create an international law department under its wing.
- MEA through proper funding should establish chairs for research in international law in universities through Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
Sources: The Hindu; Author: Prabhash Ranjan