India Follows a Multi-Pronged Approach in West Asia: Anil Wadhwa

January 20, 2016

New Delhi: Outlining India’s policy towards West Asia, Shri Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, today said that India has a ‘non prescriptive’ and ‘multi-pronged’ approach towards the West Asian countries.

Shri Wadhwa was delivering a special address on the concluding day of the 2nd West Asia Conference on ‘Ideology, Politics and New Security Challenges in West Asia’, organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on January 19, 2016.

Justifying India’s policy of ‘old-order neutrality’ while dealing with the region, Shri Wadhwa insisted that it should not be misinterpreted as ‘political passivity’ or ‘absence of decision making’ on the part of government. India is, on the contrary, more engaged in the region than in the past, he insisted.

Speaking further, he said that India continues to remain cautious in its approach towards the region, steering clear of any regional alliances, but at the same time maintaining cordial relations with them. India is committed to protecting the interest of the large number of Indian expatriates in the Gulf and Middle East, he pointed out, describing the promotion of ministerial level interactions with the countries of the region as an integral part of India’s policy towards West Asia.

Commenting on the perception that India should be more proactive in its approach towards West Asia, Shri Wadhwa said that India is not in the business of exporting democracy. Though India is a robust practitioner of democratic pluralism and religious moderation, it does not believe in intrusive prescriptive diktats. India maintains that it is up to the people of the region to decide the pace and the means to achieve those goals, keeping in mind their traditions and history, he added.

Speaking on the current situation in West Asia, Shri Wadhwa said that ‘security through dialogue is the basic framework for peace and security in the region’. Given the sheer depth of our engagement and our multifarious stakes in peace, stability and prosperity of West Asia, India has been closely tracking winds of change blowing across the region. As a plural society, India cannot be comfortable with sectarianism. As a friend of the region, India is worried about the recent developments there, he noted.

A strong, stable Yemen is in the interest of global peace and stability, he said, adding that the growing tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran does not auger well for the world. India supports Palestine and at the same time maintains good relations with Israel, he added. Commenting on the Syrian crisis, he insisted that India strongly believes that there is no military solution to the crisis.

Scholars from India, West Asia and other parts of the world attended the two-day conference to analyse the recent issues and trends which have emerged in the West Asian region.