India – Gulf Business Summit 2023

Cooperation, Collaboration, Coordination

For centuries, India and the Gulf region have had a close association due to trade and commerce activities carried out across the Arabian Sea. This continuous and frequent interaction, as well as the mobility of individuals from both sides, has led to the spread of language and culture between them.

The strong trade and investment relations between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain have been built on India’s historical ties to the region, its dependence on Gulf energy exports, and the Gulf’s reliance on India for food security and agricultural exports.

Today for India, the Gulf region is a crucial strategic region with major geopolitical and economic implications. Deep cultural exchanges, historical ties, and civilizational connections exist between India and the region. Both countries shared a colonial past and independent-struggle conflicts. India relies heavily on the GCC nations as a source of remittances, oil, and investment.

State of the

India - GULF Relationship

Around 8.9 million Indians live in the Gulf, including 2.5 million in Saudi Arabia and 3.4 million in the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf nations contribute 50% of India’s yearly remittances of more than $80 billion. Over the past ten years, trade and investment between India and Middle Eastern nations have increased dramatically.

The third-largest trading partner for India globally is the United Arab Emirates. India and the UAE now trade $88 billion more than they did before the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed in 2022, a rise of more than 38%.

Opportunities for both sides

Economic Opportunities

  • GCC is an important supplier of oil and gas for India, and stronger connections might lead to increased access to energy resources. Additional initiatives for collaborations may include renewable energy, higher education, technical innovation, smart cities, and space trade.

Investment opportunities

  • Technology, renewable energy, and infrastructure are among the sectors identified for investment and joint ventures. Improving relationships may result in increased investment in these industries. 

Indian diaspora

  • GCC has one of the largest Indian diasporas in the world, with a population of about nine million. Significant pull forces were produced by the expansion of the oil sector, most notably the abundance of employment opportunities, which ranged from trained engineers to oil field workers. People are gradually migrating to nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, and others to work in a variety of industries like banking, information technology, and business as a result of the GCC’s rapid development, which is being driven by the region’s burgeoning oil industry. 

Strategic relations

  • From a geopolitical standpoint, India and the GCC share a goal for regional political stability and security. They have shared political and security concerns, which translate into efforts for peace, security, and stability in the Gulf area and South Asia. The emergence of shared security perceptions opens up new avenues for collaboration in the future. The GCC states are undergoing significant change and transition; the process of understanding and integration is maturing. Together with it, the fields of cooperation are expanding beyond investments, trade and commerce, and human resource exchange and development to security. 
India – Gulf Business Summit

Cooperation, Collaboration, Coordination

Scope of

India - Gulf Business Summit

  • Establishing a joint committee to promote trade, investment, and tourism between India and the GCC

  • Strengthening the political and cultural ties

  • Facilitating the exchange of goods, services and technology

  • Promoting greater collaboration on research and development initiatives

  • Developing a comprehensive framework for the cooperation

  • Establishing a platform for dialogue and information exchange

  • Developing and implementing a strategy to increase bilateral trade

  • Facilitating the exchange of skills, knowledge and best practices

Way Forward

India has devoted significant political resources in defining its ties with the Arab States under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM Modi has visited countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia multiple times since taking office. This highlights the significance of Arab nations in achieving their global goals. The time has come for India and the Middle East to expand collaboration further.

One of the key drivers of India-GCC trade and investment is the energy sector. India is the world’s third-largest consumer of oil, and the Middle East is a major supplier of crude oil to India. In addition to energy, there are also opportunities for collaboration in sectors such as healthcare, technology, infrastructure, and tourism. The Indian government’s “Make in India” initiative and the GCC’s efforts to diversify their economies have created new opportunities for joint ventures, partnerships, and investments.

However, there are also challenges to be addressed, such as geopolitical tensions and cultural differences. Successful partnerships require a deep understanding of the business culture and practices in both India and the GCC.

Overall, the India GCC trade and investment relationship is poised for growth, and the summit plays a crucial role in bringing together key stakeholders to unlock its full potential.

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