Neeru Chadha first Indian woman in UN's ITLOS
International law expert Neeru Chadha has become the first Indian woman to be elected as judge to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) for 2017-2026. Chadha was also the first Indian woman who became the chief legal adviser in the Ministry of External Affairs. With 120 votes, Chadha defeated candidates from Thailand (86), Lebanon (60) and Indonesia (58).
What is the ITLOS?
The ITLOS is a dispute settlement body under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It comprises 21 members who are reputed "for fairness and integrity and of recognized competence in the law of the sea", says its website. The remaining three candidates went for a second round of voting for the other seat in the Asia Pacific group; Thailand won.
Chadha's extensive portfolio
Chadha, an alumnus of Delhi University and Michigan University, has represented India in various cases, including the 2012 Italian marines case and the 2016 ICJ hearing when Marshall Islands accused India of not upholding its nuclear disarmament obligations. She also represented the country at various other platforms, including at the UN, AALCO, UNCITRAL, UNIDROIT as well as SAARC and BIMSTEC.
Indians at the UN
Chadha is the second Indian woman after Lakshmi Pandit (president of UNGA) to bag a top spot at the UN. She is also the second woman judge at ITLOS. Currently, Indian's P Chandrasekhara Rao serves as a judge; his term ends September'17.