As we enter 2021, India has rejoined the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member in the new year for a two-year term. In 2020, India faced deteriorating ties with China in the wake of the protracted military stand-off at eastern Ladakh and Pakistan’s continued support to cross-border terrorism were the two biggest challenges for India on the foreign policy front.
After months of diplomatic and military level talks, the border issue between India and China remains unresolved and has entered into other spheres of relations. India has already banned several Chinese apps on grounds of security while reports have hinted at the government mulling over raising tariffs on Chinese products.
Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh recently said in an interview, “It is true that in order to reduce the standoff between India and China, talks were taking place on the military and diplomatic level. But no success has been achieved so far. There will be a next round of talks on the military level which can take place anytime. But no meaningful outcome has come and there is status quo”.
The Indian armed forces are prepared for a long run, apprehending that 2021 may pose more challenges for them at the LAC. Pakistan, the ‘iron brother’ of China, continued its state-sponsorship of terrorism against India, particularly in the Kashmir Valley. Unhappy with the gradually improving law and order situation in the valley, it violated the 2003 ceasefire agreement time and again to push terrorists into India.
Tensions between the two South Asian neighbors is likely to continue even in 2021 with India making it clear that peace with Pakistan is impossible until it stops its support to cross-border terrorism.
As the political crisis in Nepal continues, China has been accused of unprecedented meddling in Nepal’s political turmoil. In contrast, India’s stance has been more restrained. The Ministry of External Affairs said that, while it had “noted” the developments, these were “internal matters for Nepal to decide as per its democratic processes”.