Recently Pakistan has reaffirmed the strength of its relations with Saudi Arabia after a diplomatic spat sparked by apparent inaction by the Gulf kingdom on the issue of Kashmir and also threatened to derail what has been one of the South Asian country’s strongest alliances in the region. The long-time allies seem like drifting apart, with Saudi who prefers to build ties with India instead of criticizing it over Kashmir.
To India, the Persian Gulf plays a vital role in its economy as it supplies nearly two-thirds of India’s total oil import. The bilateral trade with the nations present in this region is also flourishing in recent years. Over the years, millions of Indians have also migrated to the Persian Gulf region in search of jobs and they account for a sizable share in the total remittance received from abroad. Indian External Affairs Ministry refers to this region as West Asia and not as the Middle East which is a more popular attribution in Western countries. India’s policy in West Asia has, in recent times, have become highly cordial despite the numerous differences between various nations within this region. This is because of India’s neutral and flexible approach while interacting with these nations. However, it still faces challenges due to the external influences from major powers like the US. India’s Look West Policy has been enhanced to deal with this complicated issue. This policy has enabled India to maintain strategic autonomy while also pursuing its economic interests.
Recently India’s decades long effort to get the full membership of the 2nd largest intergovernmental group – the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) got the huge boost when it attended the OIC’s 46th session of council of foreign ministers meeting at Abu Dhabi as a guest of honour on the invitation by the host country – United Arab Emirates (UAE).It has to be noted that, India has never been invited to the OIC before and the latest development comes at a time when the India-Pakistan tension is running high, is being seen as a diplomatic success.
Since 2018, India’s working-age population has grown larger than the dependent population consisting of children and senior citizens. This youth bulge is going to last for 37 years. However, the current economic slowdown has led to layoffs, growth decline in various sectors and joblessness. Necessary steps like policy support and reforms must be taken to make full utilisation of India’s demographic dividend to promote the growth and development of the economy.