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Ajai Vir asked: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) recently announced its decision to evolve into a confederation. What will be the implications for India (if any)?

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  • Prasanta K. Pradhan replies: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is seriously debating the proposal made by Saudi King Abdullah to transform itself into a confederation. According to the reports available in the public domain, the proposed Gulf confederation will have a unified foreign, defence and security policy for all the six member countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE), while at the same time remaining independent and sovereign. It also proposes to have a single foreign affairs ministry and one common embassy for all the countries. Consequently, all the countries of the world too will have one common embassy for member-states of the Gulf confederation. Similarly, there is also proposal for establishing a unified military leadership and upgrading of the current Peninsula Shield Force. There obviously remain certain hurdles in the way of GCC becoming a confederation. But if this proposal is agreed upon by all the members and they decide to go ahead with it, then India, like other countries of the world, too would have to prepare itself to deal with a single entity in the Gulf region in political, economic and defence arenas. At present, it is difficult to foresee the positive or negative consequences of the proposed confederation for India as it is yet to take any concrete shape.