GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
India, China and the Gulf: cooperation, competition or confrontation?
Paper Proposal Text :
As the Gulf countries attempt multi-dimensional changes, Asia is experiencing a renaissance too. This opens an opportunity for synergy to accomplish optimum mutual benefits beyond the economic realm. Simultaneously, several regional and international events have also enhanced the scope for the rediscovery of Gulf-Asia ties.

One element of the new discourse in the region is contemplating a new arrangement that looks beyond the US-centric security paradigm. In exploring this possibility, two countries that could be identified as having the potential and the inclination to play a security role in the region are China and India.

Both are military powers in their own right and given the current level of economic engagement, they are bound to take part in any arrangement that safeguards their interests, thereby overlapping with the security of the region. Some of the developments in and statements of each of these countries suggest that the possibility of an Asian role in the security architecture of the Gulf is more than just rhetoric in the long run.

Both countries are intensifying the search for energy and raw materials to feed their growing economies. Like in Africa, it is possible that both countries would also compete for resources in the Gulf in the future. This, and expansion of their naval presence to protect the supply routes in the Indian Ocean, has added fuel to the debate on a potential Indo-Sino rivalry in the Gulf in future.

While competition is inevitable, there is nothing stopping the two countries from cooperating and avoiding confrontation. Their cooperative relationship has significant implications not only for the future of the two countries, but also for the Gulf region and Asia in general.

This chapter explores what the future course of the relationship could be between the Gulf countries on the one hand, and India and China on the other. Iran figures prominently in the scrutiny since all the concerned countries have varied degrees of interaction with the Islamic Republic. The chapter would also explore the factors that may condition Chinese and Indian role in the Gulf region – stakes and strategies of other major Asian actors, US-Iran ties, GCC-Iran ties, US approach towards China and India, Iran’s relations with China and India, US-India versus China and finally, relations between India and China itself.