West Asia is Central to India’s Foreign Policy: Gen VK Singh

Foreign Affairs

New Delhi: Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses organised the 4th West Asia Conference on “Ten Years of Political & Economic Transformation in West Asia: Challenges, Lessons & Future Trends” spread over two days from February 26-27.

Delivering the inaugural address, Minister of State for Road, Transport and Highways, Government of India, General Vijay Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM (Retd.) noted that West Asia will always be central to India’s foreign policy with the Gulf region being one of the largest markets, supplier of energy and source of remittances by a large India diaspora.


Reflecting on the country’s historical ties with West Asia, Gen Singh said that India has been a partner of West Asian states, not only in trade and economy, but also, as a part of defence diplomacy in times of crisis. India’s policies towards countries in the region are not based on a zero-sum game and will therefore continue to bear fruit, he observed.

Speaking on the turmoil in the region, the Minister said the existence of several competing ideologies and involvement of outside players for their own interests has further worsened the situation in the region. West Asia will have to work on conflict resolution and each flash point will need to be examined and a solution will have to be found, he pointed out.


Director General, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, Amb Sujan R Chinoy in his welcome address stated that India’s policy of ‘Look West’ has been transformed into a ‘Link and Act West Policy’, with defence and security cooperation emerging as the key pillar of the policy.

It is predicated on countering terrorism and ensuring maritime and cyber security, investing in defence manufacturing, promoting greater interaction between armed forces, including joint exercises and military training and capacity building, he pointed out.

big bang

Describing the geo-political situation in WANA as ‘fluid’, Amb Chinoy said that the power struggle among the key regional stakeholders has complicated the regional security situation in the Gulf. The ongoing uncertainty has undermined WANA region’s economic progress and its economic growth is now almost half of what it was before the unrest began in 2011, said Amb Chinoy.

Describing the process of transition from authoritarianism to participatory politics in the region as painful and inconclusive, Amb Chinoy concluded that a stable regional security architecture is yet to emerge.


The two-day conference was being attended by scholars, academicians and officials from the WANA region, including former Prime Minister of Lebanon Mr Fouad Siniora; Distinguished Professor, of the American University in Cairo and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt, Prof Nabil Fahmy; and President, Middle East Research Institute, Erbil, Iraq, Dr Dlawer Ala’ Aldeen.