How Hindutva hatred is jeopardising India’s gulf ties (Part-V)

DM Monitoring/
Talmiz Ahmad

India-Gulf relations
The Gulf countries have now for the first time woken up to the scourge of extremist Hindutva to which they had so far paid little attention. It will come as a surprise to Hindutva cadres that, despite periodic rhetoric, faith has hardly played any role in determining the direction and strength of the Gulf countries’ ties with India.
Through the Cold War, the GCC countries were tied to Pakistan politically and militarily not because it was a Muslim country, but because they were allies on the same side of the global divide, their ties being cemented by their shared affiliation with the US.
After the Cold War, the Arab Gulf nations, united in the GCC, stretched out their hand to India when we had a BJP government led by Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee.
The visit to Riyadh of external affairs minister Jaswant Singh in January 2001 marks the commencement of fresh political relations, symbolically strengthened by the gift of two Arabian horses to the Indian minister.
Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the son of Crown Prince Abdullah, told Jaswant Singh what his father had said to him: “I like the minister. He is honest; he is a Bedouin like us.”
Indo-Saudi strategic energy ties evolved to a “strategic partnership” after the Mumbai attack of November 2008 which had clearly revealed Pakistan as the nursery and sanctuary of extremist violence. This was enshrined in the “Riyadh Declaration” signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in February 2010.
Over the last six years, Prime Minister Modi has built on these foundations with a focus on taking these relations to new heights. These relations flow from the millennia-old engagements that India has had with West Asia.
Every joint statement concluded during Modi’s interactions with Gulf leaders recalls the age-old civilisational links between India and the Gulf, as also their shared views and concerns relating to the regional security scenario.
Thus, the India-UAE joint statement of August 2015 noted the “centuries-old ties of commerce, culture and kinship” shared by India with the UAE, and then celebrated their modern-day partnership to help “realise the vision of an Asian Century”.
In the joint statement with Saudi Arabia of April 2016, the two countries recognised “the close interlinkage of the stability and security of the Gulf region and the Indian sub-continent”.