With a cessation of hostilities been brokered by Russia and the United States, the conflict in Syria has entered a tense pause. India has had a bystander attitude to the conflict in Syria. However, with the truce expected to be short, does India have the incentive or the option to depart from its current position, and deepen its engagement in Syria?
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Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil producers are trying to cap oil production to support prices. Such distortions are unlikely to work. India should be more concerned about the long term rise in oil prices due to falling investment in exploration and production – and should protect itself by acquiring oil and gas assets to cover its energy needs.
The world has witnessed a number of upheavals in the past few years, precipitating widespread global political turbulence stemming from geo-economic instability. Over the next couple of months, Gateway House experts will attempt to deconstruct these events and how India and its foreign policy can work to take advantage of these trends.
By executing an influential Shia cleric among 47 other prisoners, Saudi Arabia has increased the possibility of prolonging conflict in West Asia. The country’s actions have stirred up its differences with Iran, thereby diminishing the possibility of finding political solutions to the civil wars in Syria and Yemen.
On 14 December, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of an anti-terrorism coalition of 34 Islamic countries. But with key potential partners such as Algeria, Lebanon, and Pakistan refusing to join, the hastily-assembled group has put Saudi credibility in the spotlight instead of deflecting western criticism of the kingdom’s inaction against Sunni jihadism
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
The announcement in June of a Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran has to be seen in the context of the strategic dimensions of India’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, and the U.S. And it has far-reaching implications for India’s policy towards West Asia