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Analysis: India’s contemporary relations with West Asian countries

India and West Asia
India and West Asia

In contemporary times, West Asia stands as a region of considerable significance for India, economically as well as strategically. Large numbers of Indian workers are in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, as far as data is concerned, almost 8.5 million people engaged in different jobs in the region and 2.1 million of them are from Kerala.

Kerala has an ancient relation with the Arab world. In the last year, 52 billion dollars was sent by Indian migrants from the Gulf. India has socio-cultural relations with the region since ancient times. Indian freedom fighter visited different West Asian countries, met leaders of national movements because all are colonized under British rule. India’s relation is increasing especially with GCC countries in comparison to other West Asian countries. India needs oil and gas from the Gulf regions. Qatar is the largest Gas supplier to India. UAE is the largest trade partner to India who supplies oil and Saudi Arabia also supplies oil to India.  All of the West Asian countries are Islamic except Israel.

India’s food security is extremely linked with the West Asian region. India needs chemical fertilizer and it imports urea and other chemical fertilizer from the West Asian region. The region is a source for more than 60 percent of India’s oil and gas requirements, and hence critical for our energy security. The region is a major source of phosphate and other fertilizers, a significant factor in India’s food security. The region is also important because all three Holy places of Islam, Christianity, and Jews are in the region. The West Asian region is nearer to India for fly and 120 flights fly to 28 destinations of India. India’s position on Palestinian issues is rapidly changing and at present India is becoming closer to Israel and developed a strong military tie with Israel.

The emergence of the Arab Spring since 2011 and different civil wars make the region the most unstable region in the world. The United States and Israel attempt to dominate the West Asian region and they are supporting monarchy for their interest. The Shia-Sunni dichotomy which emerged in 2003 is a major factor in the region; where Iran and Saudi Arabia are trying to dominate through their sectarian line.

The ongoing fierce battle between different warring groups in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, etc., were further layered by the Iranian nuclear negotiations and the ever-mounting upsurge of ISIS terror, despite the US-led western powers airstrikes along with that of Russia’s too, have put the whole region not only in a state of the gravest flux, uncertainty, and insecurity but have seriously endangered the peace and security of the whole world. But fortunately, India’s position remains guided by its long-cherished goals of peace and non-interference into the internal affairs of other states and it consistently maintains constructive and friendly, and cordial relations with all the countries of the region. India continues to maintain relations with the West Asian countries; Pakistan is using the Islamic path to be closer to the region. India’s challenges are huge by political, economic, strategic, and the Indian government is able to the challenges of these issues.

Written by Niaz Ahmed

The writer is PhD Scholar in Jamia Millia Islamia Univiersity in India. His study and research works concentrate on International Relations and other socio-political issues.

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