Transitions

An IiT Blog

Continuity and change in India’s Middle East policy

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Nicolas Blarel

Nicolas Blarel

Read last week’s India in Transition article, Continuity and change in India’s Middle East policy by Nicolas Blarel.

“In February 2014, India managed a rare diplomatic coup de force when it hosted, in the same week, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Foreign Minister of Iran, Javad Zarif. The timing of these visits is hardly fortuitous; over the past two decades, India has adroitly managed to develop relations with diverse Middle Eastern countries such as Israel, Palestine, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Some see this balancing act as indicative of a broader new approach to the region, defined as India’s “Look Middle East” Policy. Beyond the change in semantics – Indian diplomats had historically referred to the region as “West Asia” – it is equally argued that a new framework guides India’s policy. At the same time, Indian politicians and diplomats regularly remind us that India’s involvement in Middle East affairs is not a new development. Both of these assessments are partially correct. While the region has consistently been interpreted as a major component of India’s grand strategy, there has also been a clear shift away from India’s preference to engage with a select group of regional partners (“proxy” policy) to a “multi-engagement” strategy in the last two decades.” Continue reading…

The author, Nicolas Blarel, is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University-Bloomington and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center on American and Global Security. He is also the author of the forthcoming book The Evolution of India’s Israel Policy: Continuity, Change, and Compromise Since 1922 (Oxford University Press, September 2014). Follow him on Twitter.

 

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