Q3. Examine the challenges and opportunities for India in strengthening its relation with the countries of middle east/west Asia?

Why this question:

The Middle East region plays a vital role in India's economy as it supplies nearly two-thirds of India's total oil import, bilateral trade is also flourishing in recent years particularly with UAE and other Arab states of the Persian Gulf

Key demand of the question:

Challenges and opportunities to build good relations with the Middle east.


Examine -Challenges and opportunities.


Give a brief introduction about Indian and middle east relation,its establishment , and its importance.


In the first part, mention about the relation bw both the countries -look west policy - opportunities - challenges.


Conclude with the way forward.

Model Answer

India is now emerging as the swing state in the global balance of power. In the coming years, it will have an opportunity to shape outcomes on the most critical issues of the twenty-first century: the construction of Asian stability, the political modernization of the greater Middle East, and the management of globalization.

  • Since independence india was a passive player in west asia ( a beneficiary of good relationship with multiple actors)
  • India's west asia policy has been multi-directional,India has interests in economic , political , security and strategic fields with west asian nations.
  • During the cold war years , india maintained close economic cooperation with both saudi arabia and iran , the rival poles in regional geopolitics 


  • India adopted the look west policy in 2005. However the policy did not get much attention since 2005
  • Recent visit of indian prime minister to a number of West asian countries has the potential to transform our engagement with West asia.
  • Several factors have contributed to this fundamental shift in west asian strategic thinking : - 
  1. Structural change in the global energy market.
  2. West asian countries are looking to gain security guarantees from asian power.
  3. West Asia is seeking regional stability.


  • The positive momentum in the development of India's relations with its west asian counterparts has been sustained despite the political turmoil and violence  that has convulsed the region.
  • India have the opportunities in the following areas: - 
  1. Crucial as a hydrocarbon source for employment of indian professionals and remittances.
  2. The saudi government is pitching its mega project, the king abdullah economic city with the deep sea port as a connector bw the west and the east and wants india to see it as a gateway to its new forays into africa.
  3. India can avail cooperation in the tourism sector.


  1. Political instability
  2. Terrorism and religious extremism
  3. Iran-saudi rivalry
  4. Israel-palestine issue
  5. Arab - israel conflict
  6. Syrian crisis
  7. Yemen crisis
  8. Shia-sunni conflict

The Middle East has become more multipolar, with power diffused among a variety of regional and extra-regional actors. Within this mix India has pursued an approach that balances against different parties and their rivalries. But once power ceases to be disparate and starts to become more concentrated, the scope for such action may start to narrow and the present window of opportunity could well close.