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Indian Power Projection in the Greater Middle East: Tools and Objectives

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India's approach to the Middle East during the Cold War years was weighed down by the partition of the subcontinent and the creation of Pakistan on a religious basis, the dispute with Pakistan over the Muslim majority province of Jammu and Kashmir and its own large Muslim minority. Hence, its policy towards the region tended to be defensive and reactive, and a general policy of support to the Arab causes, particularly that of the Palestinians, and a non-relationship with Israel were considered necessary to serve India's broad interests in the region. India's projection of secularism into the region was meant to prevent Pakistan from organizing an anti-Indian Islamic bloc in the region, and its projection of nonalignment was meant to scuttle the Western attempts to build anti-communist alliances there. However, the transformation in the superpowers relations following the collapse of the Soviet Union, changes in the regional environment in the Greater Middle East (GME) as well as South Asia and changes in India's domestic sphere created a new strategic and economic context for India to pursue its interests in the GME in the 1990s. There is an increasing convergence of strategic interests between the two regions and a growing complementarity of their economies in the post-Cold War world. Iran and Israel have become the two lynchpins of India's policy toward the region and, as an emerging global player, India, unlike during the Cold War, is in a strong position to promote its own interests as well as those of the international system in the region, which largely seem to coincide in the post-Cold War milieu.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad


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