Gulf region has a special focus in India's foreign policy as New Delhi has a vital stake in its stability, security and economic well-being in view of diversification of maritime linkages between the two, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said.
Inaugurating a seminar on 'maritime linkages between India and the Gulf - Old Foundation, New Perspectives', here he said it was satisfying to note that India-Gulf maritime linkages had not only continued but strengthened in the recent past.
'The maritime linkages have transformed and diversified into several linkages such as political, economic, strategic and cultural, investment and the significant contribution of the Indian diaspora - large plurality of which is the state of Kerala- to well being of both India and the Gulf'.
'This has meant that the Gulf region is an area of special focus in India's foreign policy and India has a vital stake in the stability, security and economic well-being of the Gulf', he said.
The bilateral trade between India and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries had reached nearly $100 billion in 2009 making the GCC, as a block, the second largest trading partner of India after the USA, he said.
Gulf countries, due to the prevailing buoyancy in oil prices, have large investible surpluses, he said, adding some estimates suggest that they are around $4-4.5 trillion, amounting to more than half of the global soveriegn wealth funds in the world.