"The world we enter in 2017, is marked by unevenness, possibilities, uncertainties, known and unknowns", said India's Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar as he outlined India's foreign policy in his first address of 2017. The impact of the American election on world politics was a focal point in the foreign secretary's speech.
Soon after Donald Trump's election Jaishankar had flown to the US to meet "the highest levels of the Trump transition team" according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
Speaking about Americas changing engagement with the world the foreign secretary said, "Relations between US and Russia could undergo a transformation that we may not have seen since 1945, its dimensions, leave alone implications are hard to predict". Despite the changing dynamics he said, "India remains well placed, an improvement in US Russia relations is not against Indian interests"
2016 saw several roadblock in India's relationship with China. Sanctioning Maulana Masood Azhar, India's entry into the NSG and the CPEC remain sticking points in our relationship. The Foreign Secretary said, "With china, the overall broadening of ties, especially in business and people-to-people contact has been overshadowed by differences on certain political issues". While saying that India would invest more in the relationship with China in 2017 Jaishankar said, "Our hope is that they would approach international relations with a view that the growth of India is not harmful to their interests".
Jaishankar minced no words while countering China on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which it has developed despite strong reservations from India. He said, "China is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty but we hope they respect our sovereignty as well. CPEC which passes through PoK was initiated without consulting India. There should be a reflection on how CPEC would affect India but we don't see that".
He also confirmed India's strategy to strengthen regional groupings like BBIN and BIMSTEC which do not include Pakistan. Talking about SAARC he said, "It is an organization which has been made ineffective due to insecurity of one member"
India's top diplomat also warned Pakistan saying, "Terror is the snake that bites the hands that feeds it and terror will remain a power theme on Indian democracy."
A large part of the foreign secretary's speech was also focused on explaining how the world in 2017 will become a more difficult place for negotiations with superpowers looking inward and focusing on domestic interests.
He was speaking at the Raisina Dialogues organised by the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.