India has now virtually slammed the door on Pakistan after its Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s recent uncivilised remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Despite repeatedly pledging to stabilise ties with New Delhi, China continued with its hostile behaviour towards India with fresh attempts to transgress the LAC in 2022 even as the Indian establishment found itself grappling with mounting pressure from the West to take a clear position against its trusted ally Russia in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The change of government in Islamabad hardly brought any difference in India-Pakistan ties with the two South Asian neighbours refusing to take any step towards rapprochement, putting the bilateral relationship in a deep freeze. India has now virtually slammed the door on Pakistan after its Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s recent uncivilised remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In any case, Pakistan will witness elections in 2023 while India will be occupied with the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, leaving no scope for any breakthrough in bilateral ties for another two years.

India completed its two year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council on Saturday with a plethora of achievements and presided over the powerful UN body in the month of December for the second time during its tenure.

2023 provides India with a unique opportunity to showcase its strengths when the country hosts the G-20 Summit of top global leaders in September.

An unrelenting China was and will continue to be the biggest threat to India in 2023, given Beijing’s expansionist designs and tendency to browbeat its neighbours. With his recent relection as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) for a record third five-year term, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy against neighbouring countries, particularly India and Japan, which are also members of the Quad. The 9 December clashes between Indian and Chinese troops at Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh, in which soldiers on both sides received injuries, clearly suggest that Beijing has no sincere intention of mending fences with India.

Even as the military stand-off at Eastern Ladakh remains unresolved, China is likely to test the preparedness of the Indian defence establishment at other places along the LAC. But Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar clearly proved to be the ”man for all seasons” in the foreign policy establishment for the manner in which he navigated the foreign policy after Russia declared war on Ukraine towards the end of February.

India almost transformed its foreign policy, moving away from non-alignment to a foreign policy that is based on the country’s own interests. Despite unrelenting pressure from the US and the West, it continued purchasing oil from Russia to meet the country’s energy needs. Jaishankar firmly refused to buckle under pressure, pointing out the duplicity in the Western approach in the Russia Ukraine war. He categorically told even India’s closest allies that New Delhi would never give up its strategic autonomy and protect its vital interests. He pointed out how the West was indulging in duplicity by nudging India to stop buying oil from Russia but not even reducing its own commercial ties with Moscow.

India has clearly stated on several occasions over the last ten months that dialogue and diplomacy should be given a chance in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and not openly sided with Moscow.