Editorial Notes

[Editorial Notes] What India has to offer in the Gulf

The recent visit of Prime Minister’s to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain underlines India’s continuing commitment to the transformation of India’s relations with the Gulf region.
By IASToppers
August 23, 2019


  • Why it was in News?
  • New approach of Middle east towards India
  • Opportunities for India in the Gulf region
  • Conclusion
  • Key Facts

What India has to offer in the Gulf 

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Why it was in News?

  • After the UAE openly backed India over its Kashmir move, Prime Minister of India is set to pay visit to Abu Dhabi as well as to Bahrain.


New approach of Middle east towards India


  • Some Gulf countries have expanded counter-terror cooperation with India.
  • They also extended support to India in the conflict over Jammu and Kashmir and have sought to open the Organisation Islamic Cooperation (OIC) platform for India despite Pakistan’s objections.


  • The Gulf countries have begun to address many of the long-standing Indian concerns due to the India’s special interest in the welfare of the Indian diaspora and emigrant labors.
  • Moreover, the Gulf has begun to see India as a major economic partner. For instance, UAE’s support for the construction of India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an example of deepening energy interdependence.

Opportunities for India in the Gulf region

Supporting positive reforms



  • India should pay greater attention to the domestic dynamics in the Gulf amidst the region’s political instability.
  • For instance, there is a new trend for promoting moderate Islam in the region. The UAE has been at the forefront of this effort aimed at modernising and stabilising the Arab Gulf societies.
  • While the Western countries are demanding faster pace in these reforms, India should offer strong public support for the reform agenda in the region.

Strategic economic cooperation

  • India must respond more productively to the Gulf region for strategic economic cooperation ranging from energy and digital innovation to arms production and space technology.
  • While the Gulf is ready to invest its considerable amounts of capital in India, India has delayed in facilitating investments from the Gulf.
  • On the other hand, China has moved quickly to elevate its economic and commercial profile in Gulf region.

Security cooperation

  • The highly vulnerable Gulf countries have long depended upon Britain and the US to protect themselves from regional and international threats.
  • However, the current retrenchment of US from gulf region is encouraging the region to diversify its security partnerships with other countries.
  • Hence, India should show initiative to develop a more pro-active strategy for defence cooperation with Gulf countries.


  • As India begins to take the dangers of an economic slowdown seriously, it should try and unclog multiple bureaucratic and policy obstacles to investments from the Gulf.
  • As the internal conflicts within the Gulf region have increased in recent years, India should avoid getting drawn into these conflicts.
  • However, avoiding the interference in the middle east issues can’t be permanent Indian security strategy in the Gulf.

Key Facts:

  • In April 2019, UAE gave Zayed Medal to the Indian Prime minister, the highest civilian honour of UAE. The Zayed Medal is named after the founder of the kingdom, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.


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