The Gulf and West Asia
Gulf: The growing political engagement with the countries in the region continued during
2017 starting with the successful State Visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India as the
Chief Guest at our Republic Day celebrations in January 2017. Among the other key high-level
political interactions were the visits to India by Foreign Affairs Ministers of Oman, Yemen,
UAE, Iraq and Qatar. On the Indian side, Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs visited
Iraq in 2017. MoS for External Affairs led the Hajj Goodwill Delegation to Jeddah and a
delegation for the 3rd Joint Ministerial Commission (JCM) meeting on trade, economic,
scientific and technological cooperation in Kuwait both in September 2017.
Iran: 2017 saw an intense engagement with Iran at both political and functional levels.
The year saw several important bilateral visits both incoming and outgoing as well as
interactions between high level dignitaries in multilateral forums. President of Islamic Republic
of Iran visited India in February 2018.
West Asia and North Africa (WANA): The region continues to remain
important from energy security, food security and for global peace and security. Relations with
all the countries of WANA region were taken forward in a calibrated manner, through regular
holding of institutional dialogue mechanisms and high level exchange of visits. The region was
marked by a number of firsts as far as our bilateral relations with Israel, Palestine and Djibouti
are concerned. President of India visited Djibouti which was the first ever visit by an Indian
President to that country. Prime Minister undertook the first ever historic visit to Israel on the
occasion of 25 years of diplomatic relations. Prime Minister of Israel visited India in 2018 as the
culmination of the celebrations to mark 25 years of establishment of diplomatic relations.
Maghreb region continues to be important for our food security as the region remains primary
source of rock phosphate and its derivatives. Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea are located in the
strategically important Horn of Africa region that will be crucial for the security of our maritime
trade passing through Red Sea-Gulf of Aden region.
East and South Africa: During the year 2017-18, our relations with Africa acquired
a different quality and content. Continuing with the inclusive and continental approach that
began with the hosting of India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) - III, we further enhanced our
political engagement with African countries. In May 2017, we hosted the meeting of African
Development Bank (AfDB) in India for the first time. All the countries in the continent have
been visited by India at least at the Ministerial level, during the current government’s tenure.
India also took initiatives to catalyse collective engagement in Africa with like-minded
countries. The initiation of a dialogue with Japan on Asia-Africa Connectivity and launch of
Asia Africa Growth Corridor were highlights of the year. Dialogues on Africa were initiated for
the first time with Germany (May 2017), France (June 2017) and Russia(November 2017). For
the first time, India also attended the Tokyo International Conference on African Development
(TICAD)-VI Ministerial Review Meeting in 2017. India also participated in G-20 Conference on
Africa and the Compact initiative.
With respect to Africa, another salient feature was enhanced focus on maritime security.