India signs MoU with Gulf Cooperation Council to facilitate consultation
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.
IMPORTANT FACTS -
- 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.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION -
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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