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  • India and West Asian Political Tensions

    There is a real danger that India’s strategic space in West Asia could be further constricted due to the rising political tensions on account of the Iranian nuclear imbroglio.

    February 16, 2012

    Rajat Dubey asked: India has been equivocating in its approach towards the Arab turmoil. As Islamist parties gain power, what will be its impact on India’s position in West Asia in times to come?

    Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: What might seem as equivocation is in fact a measured policy vis-à-vis the developments in the Arab world. Indian statements are cautious and people-oriented. India has reasons to be circumspect in light of the uncertain political environment and therefore it has perhaps resisted the temptation to join party with forces taking on the incumbent regimes, even if they seem to be in the driver's seat. India's abiding concern for religious radicalism may have conditioned this thinking as well.

    Islamic parties coming to power in these societies should not be seen as boding disaster for India. The Islamist forces in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere are likely to be as nationalistic in their outlook as the regimes they displaced. Therefore, they are likely to retain their diplomatic links with India with as much fervour, if not more, as their predecessors. India must not allow its anxiety vis-à-vis the fundamentalists to affect its diplomatic dealings with these countries.

    In case, the Islamist forces show any reluctance, which is most unlikely, in strengthening their relationship with India - a rising economy with substantial Muslim population, and with decades of fruitful bilateral relationship - India must bide for time and push for better diplomatic relationship rather than push itself hurriedly into isolation. It must also coordinate its diplomacy with other important players in international politics.

    2011: A Strategic Survey

    The year 2011 will stand out in history as the year of the Arab Spring, when people in Northern Africa and West Asia rose up against tyranny and revolted for political emancipation.

    January 04, 2012

    Protest Movements in West Asia: Some Impressions

    The pro-democracy uprisings in West Asia began with Tunisia, where the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in a dramatic fashion and found refuge in Jeddah, his new home in exile in Saudi Arabia. The Tunisian revolt had a dramatic impact on Egypt, where a non-violent uprising, brewing for some years, sought the removal of the regime of Hosni Mubarak, president for 28 years. While the movement for change in Egypt was still underway, a pro-democracy revolt erupted in Bahrain, which became the first country in the Gulf whose people sought a fundamental political transformation.

    July 2011

    The Quest for Nuclear Energy in West Asia: Energy Security or Strategic Necessity

    Most of the countries in West Asia have expressed an interest in developing nuclear energy. For them their growing demand of electricity owing to the increasing population, growing industries, their eternal reliance on the desalinated water and environmental protection are the major drivers of their decision to produce nuclear energy. Importantly, they would like to use nuclear energy for domestic consumption and supply oil and gas to earn more revenues.

    November 2010

    Geopolitics of Energy in West Asia: Competing Foreign Interests and Prospects for Regional Realignment

    The article analyses international politics surrounding the Iranian nuclear crisis, and its implications for stakeholders such as the United States and its western allies as well as for emerging market countries including India, China, and Turkey which are especially interested in Iran's energy resources. Given the existence of multiplicity of interests of these countries, often conflicting, the article analyses three possible scenarios of how the Iranian nuclear crisis is likely to be addressed.

    November 2010

    Beyond the Arab-Iranian Divide in the Gulf

    In an interesting development, the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) invited Iran for the first time last month to attend its summit meeting held in Doha. The GCC was established in 1981 to foster multilateral co-operation in the Persian Gulf, but had adopted an exclusionary policy vis-à-vis Iran though the latter was an important actor in regional politics and economy. The invitation to Iran seems to point to a GCC initiative to overcome differences and act together for the larger good of the region.

    January 23, 2008