Daily Current Affairs – 8th June, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
India’s increased role in West Asia
India and Gulf countries:
In the last 10 months, the new government under PM Modi has engaged with almost all the Gulf countries and every interaction has yielded substantial agreements which will take bilateral relations into new areas and reshape ties to make them relevant to contemporary times.
Every country visited
expressed its admiration for India’s economic achievements and pledged to become a partner in India’s development efforts.
Courtesy – http://www.rjgeib.com/biography/milken/crescent-moon/persian-gulf/gulf-states/gulf-states.jpg
Economic and cultural ties
- central importance to boosting energy and economic ties
- commitment on both sides to upgrade the existing buyer-seller relations to long-term partnerships based on investments and joint ventures
- historic and civilisational links
- enhancing people-to-people links
- work closely with India to combat terrorism
- countering radicalisation through promotion of a moderate religious discourse espousing peace, tolerance, and inclusiveness
- enhancement of defence ties and cooperation in defence and intelligence
- cooperation in new frontier areas, such as space, telecommunications, renewable energy, food security, sustainable development, desert ecology, and advanced healthcare
- The joint statement with Iran, titled ‘Civilisational Connect, Contemporary Context’, particularly focussed on sustaining historic cultural ties through interactions among scholars, authors, artists, filmmakers, the media, and sportspersons.
- UAE has set aside a fund of $75 billion to invest in India’s infrastructure and developmental needs.
Joint statements: for Strategic Partnership
Most of the countries recognize India as their “strategic partner”, a status that represents a high degree of shared values, perceptions and approaches to matters of security concern.
- Joint statement with the UAE speaks of “shared threats to peace, stability and security”, and agrees to a “shared endeavour” to address these concerns, which is founded on “common ideals and convergent interests”.
- Joint statement with Saudi Arabia talks of the two countries’ responsibility to promote peace, security and stability in the region.
- Iran joint statement speaks of the strategic importance of regional connectivity linked with the development of Chabahar port.
Promoting regional stability
Every one of the joint statements between India and the Gulf countries contains a subtext that imposes a new responsibility on India: how to shape a role to promote security in the Gulf
- India and UAE statement speaks of the need for the two countries to establish a “close strategic partnership” for “these uncertain times”, and calls upon them to “work together to promote peace, reconciliation, stability… in the wider South Asia, Gulf and West Asia region”.
- India and Saudi joint statement notes “the close interlinkage of the stability and security of the Gulf region and the Indian subcontinent and the need for maintaining a secure and peaceful environment for the development of the countries of the region”.
- The joint statement with Iran speaks at length about the threat from terrorism for the peace, security, stability and development of the region.
It specifically refers to the peace and stability of the region being served by “a strong, united, and prosperous and independent Afghanistan” and their agreement to strengthen trilateral consultations and coordination.
West Asia today is in the throes (intense or violent pain and struggle) of the gravest crisis in its modern history.
- Besides two ongoing wars, there is the scourge of jihad, represented by the transnational al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
- The two Islamic giants, Saudi Arabia and Iran, are locked in a competition in which each country sees the other as threatening its nationhood, regime, political order, and doctrinal standing in Islam.
- Saudi Arabia believes that Iran supports terror, interferes in the domestic politics of the neighbouring Arab states, and is a destabilising force that has regional hegemonic aspirations.
- Iran denies these allegations, arguing that the Saudi monarchy faces serious domestic economic and political challenges, particularly from its restless youth who chaff against an order that is on the wrong side of every issue in world affairs — constitutionalism, political participation, human rights, gender and minority sensitivity, and being unable to handle these challenges, the Kingdom is unfairly made a scapegoat by the Islamic Republic that has no regional territorial ambitions.
With the deep doctrinal and political divide between them (Iran and Saudi Arabia), the proxy wars in Syria and Yemen, and the attendant proliferation of jihad, the stage is set for their differences to escalate into direct conflict.