In the past, India was the largest source of revenue in Gulf countries in the form of pilgrimage. When oil was discovered, they turned the table. Millions of Indians migrated to GCC countries, and they earn their livelihood there.

But, on some occasions, I saw that Gulf countries value their relations with India overwhelmingly. They are even protective of India when it comes to India-Pakistan conflicts.

My question is, what is their interest? Is India their oil customer? Or, is it something else?

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    For anyone not familiar with the abbreviation, GCC = Gulf Cooperation Council = Bahrain + Kuwait + Oman + Qatar + Saudi Arabia + UAE.
    – dan04
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


The Wikipedia article on "India–Saudi Arabia relations" describes the relationship as a fairly strong one.

Relations between the two countries have strengthened considerably owing to collaboration in regional affairs and trade. Saudi Arabia is one of the largest suppliers of oil to India, who is one of the top seven trading partners and the fifth biggest investor in Saudi Arabia. [...]

The two countries share similar views on combating terrorism. There is a strong geographical and a demographic connect between the 2 countries as Islam is the 2nd Major Religion in India. Moreover, the Muslim Population in India is the second largest in the world sending huge number of Indian pilgrims every year for Umrah and Hajj.

Although the Saudi relationship with Pakistan is arguably even stronger, it seems quite reasonable to me that the Saudis (and the smaller Gulf states aligned with them) would want to avoid taking sides in regional conflicts like the Kashmir issue in order to balance and preserve both relationships.


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