India Willing to Play a Mediator In West Asia

September 10, 2014

New Delhi: India with its democratic background and principled position of non interference in the internal affairs of other countries, is in a position to work as a mediator and helper to ensure that peace in West Asia is restored, stated Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, General Vijay Kumar Singh (Retd) today. The Minister was speaking at the 1st West Asia Conference on ‘Geopolitical Shifts in West Asia: Trends and Implications’ organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on September 10, 2014.

India, with important political, economic and security stakes in the peace and stability of the region, has been following West Asian developments very closely. In light of the emerging political situation, the challenges facing India is to balance its political equations and economic interests with major regional and external players in the area. India is heavily dependent on energy supplies from the Gulf region. Energy imports from the region constituted around 63 percent of India’s total oil imports in 2012-13. The region is the leading trading partner for India with a total trade of around US$ 200 billion in the same year. Around 7 million Indian passport holders live in the region and they form another important symbiotic link between India and the region.

Strategically, India can play role as a mediator, as a partner and as a country on which a lot of players in West Asia can rely on, insisted the Minister. He added that India will abide by the various UN resolutions, pertaining to the region, for the betterment of the area and to ensure the establishment of people centric and abiding regimes.

Elaborating on India’s policy towards West Asia, General Singh said that India’s policy has been to be friendly with all the players in the region. India Looks forward to a peaceful extended neighbourhood so that the area can prosper on its own and have its beneficial effects in the neighbourhood.

Reflecting on the recent upsurge of the ‘extremist forces’ like the ISIS, he stated that such trends have had their fall outs globally. India hopes that this extremist manifestation will be controlled by the regional players of the area.

Speaking on India’s stand on Israel and Palestine the Minister said that India wants negotiated settlements between the two nations, in line with UN declarations.

The two-day conference aims at deliberating on the geo-political, security, economic and strategic issues unfolding in the West Asian region. Scholars from India, West Asia and other countries are participating in the conference to discuss in greater details the evolving trends and its implications for the regional peace and stability in West Asia.