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Indias relations with the West Asian countries are historical since the

independence of India. India has interests in economic, political, security and


strategic fields with the West Asian nations.

In the post-colonial era both side work along the ideology of non-alignment.
Indias Look West Policy indicates Indias emerging economic and strategic
relations with countries of West Asia in order to boost its energy security and a
counterbalance to the strategic influence of other major powers in the region.

During the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh emphasised on a Look West Policy
like Indias famed look East policy but he failed to get much more.

The new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started to reinforcement of
Look West or Link West policy since May 2014.

Why India and the West Asia important to each other:

The West Asian region is one of the most instable and conflicted region in the
contemporary world. Multifaceted factors, including regional and international
powers interest produced vast turmoil in the post-Arab Spring era in the region.

A range of Islamic terrorist groups, Civil wars and external intervention made the
West Asia most horrible region. The whole West Asia is now in big socio-political,
economical turmoil and boundaries are regularly fragmenting and integrating.
The Islamic State and other terror groups are rapidly getting more ground in
Iraq, Syria and Yemen and beyond.

The Islamic State became the biggest challenge for this region.

The West Asia region is also in the process of re-settlement and re-alignment of
regional politics due to the recent entry of Iran in the international arena through
the historic nuclear deal.

Indias growing relations with Iran may be a bridge in Saudi Arabia and Israel to
Teheran. A trustful relation between regional powers only can bring peace and
stability in the region. In the midst of these challenges, the West Asian nations
and India should develop their relations in near future.

Indias relationship with the Middle East which Indian policymakers refer to
by the perhaps more geographically correct, official United Nations term of "West
Asia" is driven by the cold, hard logic of realism.

In the context of the civil society upheavals that are ongoing in many nations of
the greater West Asian region, Indias foreign policy establishment is devoting no
small amount of effort to understand their country's role in a politically unstable,
but exceedingly important, area of the world for Indian interests.

The Arab Monarchies

Of particular importance to India in West Asia is its enduring energy needs


perhaps as high as 70%, including a significant amount from Iran that
originate from the region. The Indian navys ongoing strategic concerns involve
access to the Persian Gulf and the western Indian Ocean. Indian naval forces are
playing an instrumental role in the international effort to guarantee the safety of
navigation from piracy off the coast of eastern Africa in the Gulf of Aden.

Also, Indias rivalry with Sunni-majority Pakistan whose manpower has been
organized through the Fauji Foundation that is linked to the powerful Pakistani
military and deployed as enforcers to be used against restive, mainly Shi'ite
populations by Gulf Arab Sunni monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
is an ongoing saga. Pakistans reported willingness to serve as a nuclear weapons
supplier of last resort to Saudi Arabia in the event that Iran armed itself with
nuclear missiles, is also a lingering question that complicates Indias geo-political
arrangements in the region.

Indias relationship with the Arab countries of the Gulf is complex, however, and
is not easily diminished by Pakistans genuine affinity for the Sunni monarchies
that dominate the Arabian Gulf. The West Asian monarchies of the Arabian Gulf
are an important site of labor for an estimated 6 million Indians. With the
nation's growing population that is in dire need of employment, remittance
money that is sent back from Indian nationals becomes exceedingly important.
Indian laborers in West Asia, particularly in the Gulf Arab countries, are also
sometimes mistreated, denied wages, or sexually abused belying the darker
aspects of international labor migration.

Indias burgeoning entrepreneurial class also views West Asia as a potential bull
market, with the prospect of the countrys exceedingly competitive tech industries
finding ready sales and investment in the Gulf Arab states.

The Pariah States: Iran and Syria

Also important, but less vital to Indias existential needs, is its relationship with
international pariah states such as Iran and Syria; both of whom have turned to
India as a market for their sanctioned energy exports, and as a potentially
powerful advocate in the halls of international organizations as a leading member
of the recently-maligned, but still important, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China,
South Africa) nations. India, which continues to maintain diplomatic relations
with the Bashar al-Assad government, could yet even if it is unlikely in the
current state of Syria's civil war work with Russia and China to engage with
anti-Assad states within the international community, and to broker a ceasefire
that leads to a transitional government in Syria.

Beyond the potential role of India in the machinations of global diplomatic


intrigue, the presence of 150 Indian soldiers participating in the longstanding
United Nations peacekeeping deployment to the Golan Heights between Israel
and Syria, presents a difficult choice to Indian policymakers over the need to
weigh international commitments against the safety of its troops.

Indias diplomatic relationship with Iran, the object of a considerable amount of


consternation from the United States and the European Union, is a source of
tension with the West. It is a means for India to negotiate a position as a
necessary interlocutor between the West and the Islamic Republic. The partially
Indian-financed construction of the Iranian port of Chabahar, which mirrors the
Chinese financing of Gwadar port in Pakistan although it may promise to
extend Indian export markets into Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan
adds another point of contention between it and the United States.

The issues over New Delhis relationship with Tehran notwithstanding, India is
also looking to aggressively purchase US weapons and engage with the United
States navy in the Indian Ocean and West Asia a potential long-term security
relationship that will impact Indias engagement in the Arabian Gulf and
complicate its position vis--vis the Islamic Republic.

An Enduring Presence

Indias relationship to West Asia is complex and will increase in the coming
years. A significant amount of Indias economic development will be spurred by
energy resources originating from West Asia. In protecting these interests in the
region, Indias military presence, particularly its navy, will maintain a greater
presence in the West Asian region. The exertion of Indian influence through
naval force in the areas of West Asia that border the Indian Ocean is most likely

to be engaged through international efforts, as was done in its participation in


anti-piracy operations in East Africa and the Gulf of Aden.

Indian entrepreneurs will also continue to view West Asia as a potentially


lucrative market for their investment, diversifying Indias economic interests in
West Asia beyond securing energy resources, and as a site of unskilled labor
migration for remittances. West Asia, especially the Arabian Gulf, can expect the
enduring future presence of India.