The Persian Gulf has been for decades a region of considerable economic and strategic relevance for India, but its importance has been significantly increased in the last five years. During 2012 some crucial steps will probably be taken towards the creation of a Free Trade Area between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
If we look at the relations between India and GCC, the most important elements to consider are the Indian oil and gas imports from the Gulf. The growing Indian economy is highly dependent on oil and gas, not only from Countries of the GCC but also from other regional players, notably Iran, a State that is still considered by the bulk of the Arabic Gulf Countries a threat to their national security. Thus India will have to play wisely with both GCC and Iran in order to guarantee its much needed oil sup-ply.
Another very important element is the massive presence of Indians living in the Gulf States. This diaspora might be central for India, enforcing new ties with GCC Countries thereby boosting Indian trade and soft power; however, there are some issues that can seri-ously harm the relations between GCC and Delhi, particularly the ill treatment of the unskilled Indian workers in many of the Gulf States.