India signs MoU with Gulf Cooperation Council to facilitate consultation

Tags: International Relations International News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on 10 September signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Secretary-General of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf on the mechanism of consultations between India and the GCC.


  • The External Affairs Minister is on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia from 10-12 September 2022, his first visit to Saudi Arabia as Foreign Minister of India.
  • Jaishankar held bilateral meetings with the Secretary General and discussed the relevance of India-GCC cooperation in the context of the current regional and global situation.

About Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) :

  • It is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

  • It was established in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May 1981. 

  • Its aim is to achieve coordination, cooperation and integration and Arab regional unity among these countries.

  • The GCC member states have a total GDP of over USD 3.464 trillion and a total population of 54 million.

Why is GCC significant for India ?

  • About 7.6 million people of the Indian diaspora live in the Middle East.

  • According to the Reserve Bank of India report, India receives 30% of the total remittances from Middle Eastern countries. Although earlier this figure used to be 50 percent.

  • The decline in remittances may be due to the Covid-19 pandemic which forced workers to come to India.


India’s trade and energy interests :

  • India's third largest trading partner (USD 72.9 billion) in the year 2021-22 was the United Arab Emirates.

  • Saudi Arabia was India's fourth largest trading partner in the last financial year.

  • From Qatar, India imports 8.5 million tonnes of LNG annually and exports products ranging from cereals to meat, fish, chemicals and plastics.

  • Two-way commerce between India and Qatar increased to US$ 15 billion in 2021-22 from US$ 9.21 billion in 2020-21.

  • Oman and Bahrain have also been a prosperous bilateral trade partner with India.

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