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India-GCC Relations  


Introduction           

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a collective entity has tremendous significance for India. The Gulf constitutes the “immediate” neighbourhood of India separated only by the Arabian Sea. India, therefore, has a vital stake in the stability , security and economic well being of the Gulf. As a group, the GCC has been increasingly determining the economy, political and security policies of its member States. The GCC countries are moving ahead rapidly with their economic integration efforts. The GCC has emerged as a major trading partner of India. It has vast potential as India’s investment partner for the future. The GCC’s substantial oil and gas reserves are of utmost importance for India’s energy needs. The GCC countries are collectively host to a large Indian expatriate community. In short, the GCC offers tremendous potential for cooperation in trade, investment, energy, manpower, etc.
 
Economic and Commercial Relations

India enjoys traditionally cordial relations and cooperation with the GCC. India’s old, historical ties with GCC States, coupled with increasing imports of oil and gas, growing trade and investment, and presence of approximately 6.5 million Indian workers in the region, are of vital interest to India. India’s economic linkage with the GCC have increased steadily, especially due to growth in oil imports. During 2020-21, India’s exports to GCC were US $ 28.06 billion. The bilateral two-way trade during the period was US$ 87.36 billion, registering a decline of about 27% over the previous year. A table showing India’s trade with the GCC States during the last three years is appended below:


 
India’s trade with GCC countries

(All figures in US $ Millions)

  2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021
  Import Export Total Import Export Total Import Export Total Import Export Total
KSA     22,070       5,411     27,481     28,479       5,562     34,041     26,857       6,237     33,094     16,187       5,857     22,043
UAE     21,739     28,146     49,885     29,785     30,127     59,912     30,257     28,854     59,110     26,623     16,695     43,318
Oman       4,264       2,439       6,704       2,759       2,246       5,005       3,669       2,262       5,931       3,088       2,355       5,443
Kuwait       7,166       1,366       8,531       7,431       1,334       8,765       9,574       1,287     10,860       5,214       1,287       6,268
Qatar       8,409       1,472       9,881     10,722       1,611     12,333       9,686       1,268     10,954       7,930       1,285       9,215
Bahrain         431         557         988         540         742       1,282         422         559         981         547         528       1,076
Total     64,079     39,391   103,470     79,716     41,622   121,338     80,465     40,466   120,931     59,589     28,007     87,364

Source: www.dgft[dot]gov[dot]in( as on 19.05.2016)
 
Strategic relations

            From the strategic point of view, India and GCC share the desire for political stability and security in the region. The common political and security concerns of India and GCC translate into efforts for peace, security and stability in the Gulf region and South Asia. The emerging common security perceptions create further opportunities for GCC-India cooperation in the future. The GCC States are going through important changes and transformation; the process of understanding and integration is coming of age. Alongwith it the areas for cooperation are also widening beyond investments, trade & commerce and sharing & development of human resources to security.
 
India-GCC Industrial Conference

The first GCC-India Industrial Conference was held  in Mumbai in February 2004, the second was held in Muscat in March 2006, the third was held in Mumbai in May 2007 and the fourth was held at King Abdullah Economic City, Jeddah in November 2015.

India- GCC FTA    
    
India and GCC signed a Framework Agreement for enhancing and developing economic cooperation between the two sides in in New Delhi in August 2004. Two rounds of talks for finalizing aspects like tariff rules, rules of origin, etc have been held. The India-GCC FTA is under negotiation. 

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(Aug 2021)