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Cooperative security in Persian Gulf littoral

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Cooperative security in Persian Gulf littoral

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: About the region, location and significance, challenges to its security and how to maintain it?

What is Persian Gulf region and why is it so significant?

The lands around the Persian Gulf are shared by eight countries- Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

  • These countries are major producers of crude oil and natural gas, and thereby contribute critically to the global economy and to their own prosperity. 
  • The area has approximately two-thirds of the world’s estimated proven oil reserves and one-third of the world’s estimated proven natural gas reserves.
  • This factor has added to their geopolitical significance. 
  • A considerable amount of sea trade passes through the gulf, leading to heavy traffic in the region.

Given its significance, the framework for stability and security in the region should have the following:

  1. conditions of peace and stability in individual littoral states;
  2. freedom to all states of the Gulf littoral to exploit their hydrocarbon and other natural resources and export them;
  3. freedom of commercial shipping in international waters of the Persian Gulf;
  4. freedom of access to, and outlet from, Gulf waters through the Strait of Hormuz;
  5. prevention of conflict that may impinge on the freedom of trade and shipping
  6. prevention of emergence of conditions that may impinge on any of these considerations.

Why this is important for India too?

  • The Gulf is an integral part of India’s ‘extended neighbourhood’, both by way of geographical proximity and as an area of expanded interests and growing Indian influence.
  • India is dependent on the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states for 42 per cent of its overall oil imports; three of the top five oil suppliers to India are Gulf states.
  • Indians make up the Gulf states’ largest expatriate community, with an estimated 7.6 million Indian nationals living and working in the region; especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • The GCC is India’s largest regional-bloc trading partner, which accounted for $104 billion of trade in 2017–18, nearly a 7 per cent increase from $97 billion the previous year. This is higher than both India–ASEAN trade ($81 billion) and India–EU trade ($102 billion) in 2017-18.

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InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is GCC?
  2. Middle East countries?
  3. Strait of Hormuz?
  4. Top oil producers of the world.
  5. Persian Gulf- countries in the region.

Mains Link:

Discuss why stability and peace is important in the Persian Gulf region for India and the world.

Sources: the Hindu.