A conference in Doha on ‘Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future’ offered many insights into the nature of geopolitical relations in the region and India’s significant role in it
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The removal of 11 top ministers in the Riyadh government last week by the young crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, is a geopolitical upheaval, the implications are serious. Domestically, the kingdom is seeking to liberalise its conservative society and move away from oil-dependency – evident from the expected listing of its crown jewel Aramco. For India, which imports oil largely from West Asia, instability could cause a spike in prices, leaving less for its ambitious reforms. Globally, there is now space for new alignments – in the Great Power plays, in the Shia-Sunni rivalry, and in the war on terrorism.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have broken off diplomatic ties with Qatar, but Iran may be their real target, a possibility reinforced by some recently leaked emails from a UAE diplomat
Prince Salman’s accession to the throne after the death of Saudi King Abdullah on 23 January 2015 has been a game changer, both domestically and in West Asian politics. Within days, he sidelined rivals within the House of Saud, and took on Iran with a confrontational policy. But two years later, the results of his new strategy disappoint
OPEC’s announcement of a cut in oil production shows that Saudi Arabia is being affected by low oil prices even as Iran gains ground
Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in India's 2014 general elections, despite his hardline nationalist image, was viewed as a localised phenomenon. But two years later, voters across the world from Europe to Philippines seem to be tilting towards leaders with the same nationalist tag.
The GCC finds itself engulfed by a perfect storm – due to the oil price fall and the re-emergence of Iran on the world scene. While the GCC is forced to undertake politically challenging reforms and confront the regional challenge of Iran, there lies a great opportunity for India to strengthen their economic as well as security ties.
Today ISIS is the gravest international security threat. To defeat ISIS, the world should pay heed to India’s experience of the need to isolate state sponsors of terrorism. Ultimately, only when Saudi Arabia acknowledges the danger to its own survival from past policies of alleged support to extremist groups, can it be a reliable partner in the fight against ISIS.
The jobs of 6.5 million Indians working in GCC countries could be at risk due to the fall in global oil prices. Securing the interests of these workers should be on Prime Minister Modi’s agenda when he visits UAE on August 16-17
The oil-rich GCC countries are starting to show signs of financial stress maintaining high defense and social spending while the price of oil remains low