Skip to main content

The Limits of Asia-Gulf Ties

Gulf-Asian economic relations will likely continue to grow while national security considerations are ignored.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (2nd L) inspects a guard of honour during his ceremonial reception at India's presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi April 9, 2012. Sheikh Hamad is on a three-day state visit to India. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS) FOR BEST QUALITY IMAGE ALSO SEE: GM1E84H05M001 - RTR30ISQ

In recent years, Gulf-Asian relations have intensified in numerous economic sectors. Emblematic of such a trend is Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s 2009 statement: “China is coming, India is coming. ... I don’t know if America and Europe will still be leading.” For some, this Gulf-Asian rapprochement is the result of a Western retreat from its traditional areas of influence and the necessity for Gulf monarchies to look for alternative partners, not to mention security providers, among the rising powers in Asia, in particular India and China.

However, the view of an emerging Gulf-Asian strategic nexus downplays many substantial contradictions. In the Gulf as well as in Asia, countries have framed regional power plays as an either/or game. In the Gulf, the Iran matrix is the cornerstone of GCC foreign policy, the ultimate consequence being that cooperating in any domain with the Iranian regime is understood to be a stance against the GCC.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.