India-GCC Troika Dialogue: Key Facts

On November 3, 2020, India and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Troika held an annual Political Dialogue. India was represented by the External Affairs Minister S Jai Shankar at the dialogue.

Highlights

During the dialogue, India requested the members of GCC to ease the return of Indian professionals and workers to the Gulf countries.

Gulf Cooperation Council

It is an intergovernmental economic and political union. It comprises of Arab states such as Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.
The main objectives of the council are to formulate regulations in trade, tourism, administration and customs. It establishes scientific research centres.

Peninsula Shield Force

It is the military arm of Gulf Cooperation Council. It responds to military aggression against any of the members. The permanent base of the force is located at King Khalid Military City near HAfar al Batin. Till 2011, the Major General of Saudi Arabia commanded the troops. There are around 40,000 troops in the force.

India-GCC

Earlier, India had robust ties with Iran. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and GCC were allies of Pakistan traditionally. India was the second largest customer of Iranian oil until recently. However, US pressure forced India to reduce oil imports from Iran. Saudi Arabia and GCC countries quickly stepped in to replace Iranian supplies.

ARAMCO and ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) will jointly build a mega refinery in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.  Also, ARAMCO of Saudi Arabia recently purchased 20% stake in Indian Reliance industries.

In 2018, India, UAE and Saudi Arabia created a trilateral oil cooperation to bring stability in oil cooperation after the US sanctions on Iran.

GCC

GCC is one of the “immediate neighbourhood” of India. There are more than 6.5 million Indian workers in the GCC region. The GCC accounts to 34% of crude imports of India.

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