Qatar reprieve for ex-navy men puts spotlight on India’s strong Gulf ties

Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. (PTI Photo)
Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Summary

  • As PM Modi embarks on a two-day visit to Qatar and the UAE, a look at India’s growing bilateral relations with Gulf nations, through the lens of trade, diaspora and visits by heads of states.

The release of eight former Indian Navy personnel from Qatar, who had previously faced the death penalty on espionage charges, is a significant triumph for India's diplomatic efforts in West Asia. This development comes just days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United Arab Emirates and then his subsequent travel to Doha, Qatar, and underscores the strengthening economic and strategic relationships between India and the Gulf nations in recent years.

India's engagement with the Gulf region is multifaceted: major countries here are some of India's largest trading partners, contributing to over 14% of India’s total trade, with petroleum products being a significant import. Additionally, the West Asian countries are home to a large expatriate Indian community, with more than 25% of all overseas Indians residing in these nations, according to government data.

A look at India’s relations with this region through charts:

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