Nov 03: India and the GCC Troika held their annual Political Dialogue today in virtual mode. External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, led the Indian delegation. The GCC was represented at the Troika-level by Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, Secretary-General of GCC, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain and Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, UAE. Senior representatives from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar also participated in the meeting.
The leaders undertook a detailed review of India-GCC ties and appreciated the upward trajectory in ties witnessed in the last few years. They expressed satisfaction that India and GCC countries have continued their close cooperation even during the Covid-19 pandemic. EAM apprised the GCC leaders of the improving situation in India, both on the health and economic side. He hoped for an early return to trade normalcy between India and the GCC. India had ensured that the supply chains from India to the Gulf were not disrupted despite the lockdowns during the pandemic.
EAM thanked the GCC countries for taking care of the large Indian diaspora in their countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. India had also taken special care to ensure the return of Indian health professionals to GCC countries and for supply of medicines and other essential items during the pandemic. EAM mentioned that a large number of Indian workers and professionals are now eager to return to the GCC countries to resume their work. He urged the GCC leadership to facilitate their return through sustainable travel bubble arrangements with India.
EAM also apprised GCC leaders about the progress made by India in vaccine development as well as in the development and manufacturing of diagnostic and other equipment related to Covid-19. Both sides reaffirmed that they will continue to work together to tackle Covid-19 situation.
The leaders also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern. They agreed that the India-GCC partnership in political, economic, and other domains would be further strengthened. The GCC welcomed India’s inclusion in the UNSC as a non-permanent member from January 2021. Both sides affirmed their commitment to reform multilateral institutions to reflect the realities of the 21st century and to work together to address contemporary challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, sustainable development, and terrorism.