Daily Hot Topic
Topic : India and the Gulf
GS-2 Mains  : IR
Revision Notes

The Gulf Region:

  • Refers to countries bordering the Persian Gulf.
  • Includes: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE.
  • Holds vast oil reserves, impacting global economics and politics.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC):

  • Established in 1981.
  • Political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries (mentioned above).
  • Aims for unity based on shared objectives, Arab and Islamic identity.
  • Rotating presidency.

Importance of the Gulf Region for India:

  • Energy Security: Major supplier of crude oil and natural gas (35% of India’s oil imports, 70% of gas).
  • Remittances: Significant contribution to Indian economy from expatriates working in the Gulf.
  • Security Cooperation: Strategically important for India’s security in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

India’s Relations with GCC:

  • Strategic Partnership: Major trade and investment partner (GCC is India’s largest regional trading bloc, accounting for 15.8% of total trade in FY2022-23). Strong economic and political ties with all GCC countries, with strategic partnerships with Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Oman.
  • Trade Deficit: India heavily reliant on GCC oil and gas imports.
  • Defense Relations: Growing momentum, expanding from training to intelligence sharing, counterterrorism, and technological cooperation (AI, electronic warfare, cybersecurity).


  • India’s role as a strategic partner for the Gulf states is likely to increase.
  • Managing shared challenges and focusing on growing political, economic, and security interests will be crucial for strengthening India-Gulf relations.

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