GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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The Strategic Significance of the Gulf Region for India Security Implications for the Future
Paper Proposal Text :
Asian countries have posted the most rapid economic growth rates in the past decade. China is already the world's second-largest economy in absolute terms and India the world's third-largest in PPP terms. In today’s globalised, economically interlinked and interdependent world, a country’s economic strength and leverage will increasingly be the major foundation for political influence and strategic clout.
As far as the Asian growth story is concerned hydrocarbons have been and will remain the main energy sources for Asian countries for the foreseeable future. The major Asian economies have collectively become the largest customer for hydrocarbons from the Gulf region; Asian hydrocarbon imports will continue to increase even as Western hydrocarbon needs from the region have and will continue to rapidly diminish. Trade links between the Gulf region and the rest of Asia are the world’s fastest growing. Millions of Asian nationals live and work in the Gulf region. The Gulf region is geographically and culturally a part of Asia. Asian countries therefore have a growing and vital stake in peace and stability of the Gulf region.
India's relationship with the Persian Gulf region, particularly with the GCC countries, has expanded more rapidly both in absolute terms and when compared with its relations with other regions. Factors such as volumes of bilateral trade, hydrocarbon dependency, remittances and investments and the huge Indian passport holding diaspora living and working in these countries make this region, as of today, perhaps India’s leading socio-economic partner in the world. That is likely to remain the case at least for the next decade. Furthermore, the contemporary political and diplomatic relationship has become truly meaningful and strong having overcome impediments that were in the past virtually insurmountable roadblocks.
In fact, this relationship is increasingly one of mutual synergy and symbiotic advantage. That being the case both sides should be deeply interested in each other's stability and security.
India has the world’s third largest Muslim population. This region is the heartland of the Islamic world, is next door to India and probably has greater people to people interaction with India than with any other non regional country. These facts make the Islamic factor a significantly more relevant consideration for India than for any other major power. This context is highlighted further by the potential impact of new political factors - the rise of political Islam, possibilities of radicalization, the exacerbation of the Saudi-Iranian standoff /Shia-Sunni divide, etc, as a consequence of the turmoil in the Arab world in the past two years, which has also clearly exposed the inadequacy of heretofore existing security arrangements in and for this region.
Therefore, going forward, stability in and security of this region will be of increasing strategic importance for India.
The paper would will discuss all these issues and explore the modalities of India’s involvement in evolving regional security dynamics.