Former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar took charge as Union Minister for External Affairs on Friday gaining the distinction of becoming the first career diplomat to be given the key portfolio.

Jaishankar, who was sworn in as the Foreign Minister about sixteen months after retiring as the Foreign Secretary, has to focus on improving India’s ties with neighbouring countries, tackling Pakistan, as well as making a mark in global forums like the G-20 alliance and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

A former ambassador to the US who also spent a number of years in China, Jaishankar is expected to delicately handle India’s diplomatic and economic relationship with both the countries which, at the moment, are engaged in a trade war.

The touch decision of whether India should continue sourcing oil from Iran, a long-standing partner of India, at the risk of irking the US which has threatened sanctions against such action, will also need to be taken by India under the new Minister’s leadership.