Background of the MOU

The Permanent Mission of India to the WTO, Geneva (PMI), the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration at The Graduate Institute, Geneva (CTEI), and the Centre for Trade and Investment Law at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi (CTIL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a view to collaborating and cooperating in the field of international trade and investment law for academic, research, training, and capacity-building activities. The MOU was signed by H.E. Ambassador Brajendra Navnit from PMI, Professor Joost Pauwelyn from CTEI and Professor James J. Nedumpara from CTIL on 27 November 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The MOU broadly covers five areas of cooperation between the Parties, which include: (1) training and capacity building; (2) joint research projects, conferences and workshops; (3) submission of India-focused projects for examination at TradeLab legal clinics functioning at CTEI in Switzerland or CTIL in India; (4) internship for selected CTEI students with CTIL; and (5) exchange of staff and faculty for study and research purposes.

The MOU is a positive step to bring together academics, policy makers, students and the international economic law research community based in the partnering institutions to carry out India-focused trade policy research or other topics which may have systemic importance. The MOU, while seeking to strengthen India’s capacity building in foreign trade policy formulation, training and research activities, will also provide impetus for the scholarly community to initiate joint projects or other collaborative programmes. This communication seeks to outline the areas where activities are envisaged under the MOU.


TradeLab Law Clinics

One of the key areas of cooperation enumerated in the MOU is the submission of India-focused projects for examination at TradeLab legal clinics at CTEI or CTIL. CTIL has been running TradeLab clinics in India since August 2020 with three premier law schools in the country and is engaged in discussions to extend the clinics to other leading law schools as well. As most of you are well aware, TradeLab is a Geneva-based initiative which brings together students, academics, and legal practitioners with the aim of empowering stakeholders to avail the benefits of research in international trade law and international investment law. Through pro bono Legal Clinics and Practica, TradeLab connects students and experienced legal professionals to research organizations, SMEs and civil society to build lasting legal capacity.

The Legal Clinics and Practica are composed of small groups of highly motivated and carefully selected law students who work on specific legal questions posed by beneficiaries. The students work over the course of a semester and conduct detailed legal research and work on several drafts shared with academic supervisors, mentors and beneficiaries for comments and feedback. The output ranges from a legal memorandum to a research project, report, draft law or other output tailored to the beneficiary’s needs. At the end of the semester, the groups submit a written output and orally present their project in the presence of the beneficiaries and other invited guests. The projects are also presented at the Student Showcase, an annual global event organized by TradeLab.

The TradeLab clinics run by CTIL have covered a diverse range of India-centric or Indian industry-focused problems like promotion of exports through India’s FTAs, reforms to the legal services sector in India, the implementation of TRQs in trade agreements, MPIA and MSME-related issues, to provide a few illustrations. Under the MOU, the TradeLab clinics will be run by CTIL to examine issues specific to India. CTIL as well as PMI will play an important role in providing direction and mentorship to the students during their association with the clinics. The TradeLab students under this MOU will also receive an opportunity to interact with key stakeholders in India and acquire valuable practical experience. In other words, the objective of the TradeLab clinics run by CTIL is to ensure that the selected students at the India-specific clinics receive high calibre training and mentorship and, importantly, an opportunity to work on cross-cutting international economic law issues especially relating to India.

Contact Points and the Implementation of the MOU

For a successful implementation of the MOU, a clear management and coordination structure is important. In this regard, the contact points for each of the parties for the aforesaid activities are:

PMI: Mr. Ashish Chandorkar, Counsellor (NAMA), PMI (

CTEI: Ms. Tamara Pironnet, Managing Director, CTEI (

CTIL: Mr. Satwik Shekhar, Consultant (Legal), CTIL (

The abovementioned contact points will coordinate regularly to conduct activities under the MOU. On the whole, the parties seek to enhance coordination with a view to benefitting through meetings, brainstorming sessions, joint research projects, collaborations for seminars or other similar events or activities.

In light of the above, the parties hope to work closely to achieve the common aims of building India focused trade-related capacity within the partner institutions and providing academic and research opportunities to students, researchers and policy makers in the field of international economic law and, in the process, establishing a robust basis for long-term partnership.

CTIL-CTEI Internship Programme

An important area of cooperation under the MOU is providing internship opportunities to selected students from CTEI. In this regard, CTIL as the administering party has created an internship programme exclusively for CTEI students. The interns under this programme were jointly selected by CTEI, CTIL and PMI. CTIL engages three (3) students under this programme at a time on a rolling basis for a duration of two to three months with an expected work requirement of twenty hours per week per intern. This internship may be open to law as well as non-law students if sufficient knowledge and experience in the relevant field is demonstrated. CTIL and CTEI are also in the process of discussing the possibility of the latter awarding academic credits to the students who join this internship programme.

The following students had the opportunity to intern under this programme for the duration of March 2022-May 2022:

Himanil Raina

Himanil Raina is a PhD candidate working on the topic of National Security and International Law at the Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID), under the supervision of Professor Andrew Clapham. He also works as a Teaching Assistant at the Graduate Institute and is a Legal Assistant at the International Law Commission. Prior to completing his Master in International Law at IHEID, he worked at the National Maritime Foundation and attained his B.A., LL.B (Hons.) from the NALSAR University of Law.

Shambhavi Pandey

Shambhavi is currently pursuing the LL.M. in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS) in Geneva, Switzerland. Her areas of interest include international trade law and investment arbitration, with a focus on the co-existence of the rights and obligations under the WTO agreements and free trade agreements. Shambhavi completed her B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) degree from the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, with an exchange semester at the University of Zurich as a Heyning-Roelli Foundation Scholar. As a law student, Shambhavi successfully represented NLSIU in moot courts and ADR competitions, including the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot, John H. Jackson Moot Court and the Vis East Mediation Competition. Prior to joining the MIDS, Shambhavi advised clients in domestic and international arbitrations in her role as an Associate with the Dispute Resolution team at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. for three years.

Sanjana Sharma

Sanjana Sharma has been practising dispute resolution since 2014 after her graduation from National Law University, Jodhpur and holds a LLM in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS), Geneva. She has actively advised and represented State and private entities in complex litigations and arbitrations, across industries ranging from foreign investment, electricity, mining, construction and infrastructure. In her previous capacity, Sanjana has been an associate at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Company, a Staff Editor for the Yearbook on International Investment Law and Policy, 2020 (CCSI and OUP) and, an international arbitration trainee at LALIVE, S.A. Geneva.