India and Gulf Cooperation Council: Time to Look Beyond Business

Dr Prasanta Kumar Pradhan is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for profile
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  • May 2010

    India's relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been primarily based on mutual trade and business. GCC countries are the main source of energy for India and a market for Indian commodities. India's five-million-strong workforce forms a natural linkage between India and the GCC. But despite such strong trade linkages, which are still growing, political and strategic relations between India and the GCC have been found lacking. Recent years have witnessed signing of defence and security agreements between India and some of the GCC countries. But there still remain some irritants in the relationship, which need to be addressed by both sides. The emerging security and regional and international order in the region demands increased interaction between India and the GCC. As the GCC is also opening up, this paper argues that it is time for India to look beyond trade and business, and engage the GCC in political, security and strategic fields.