Following diplomatic backlash from all the countries that are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman — and Iran, the ruling BJP suspended its spokesperson, Nupur Sharma, and the Delhi unit of the party expelled its media cell head, Naveen Kumar, over their remarks on Prophet Mohammad and Islam. This strong response was necessary since the Gulf countries play a vital role in four key areas. One, the region accounts for 16% of India’s total imports, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia featuring among India’s top five import partners. Two, India sources close to 40% of its fuel needs from the GCC countries and Iran. Three, about 90 lakh Indians (28% of overseas Indians) reside in the Gulf region. And four, they account for over 55% of India’s remittance inflows.
Share in trade
The table lists the share of GCC countries and Iran in India’s total trade, imports, and exports and their ranking among over 200 countries between 2017 and 2021. For instance, the UAE accounted for 7% of India’s total trade and ranked third.
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The table lists the share of GCC countries and Iran in India’s total fuel imports which includes crude oil, natural gas and coal between 2017 and 2021. For instance, 14% of India’s fuel needs were sourced from Saudi Arabia during this period.
Indians in the Gulf
The table shows the number of overseas Indians in GCC countries and Iran according to the latest data published by the Ministry of External Affairs. About 3.4 million Indians reside in the UAE alone.
The table lists the flow of remittances from the GCC countries to India in 2017. The UAE accounts for 20% of India’s inward remittances.
Source: UN Comtrade, Pew, MEA