OP7

India joins the Gulf Cooperation Council as a non-voting member

Steen Jakobsen
Chief Investment Officer

Summary:  The world's geopolitical alliances will lurch into a phase of drastic realignment as we have an ugly cocktail of new deglobalising geopolitics and much higher energy prices.

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Countries reliant on imports for the majority of their energy inputs in a rapidly deglobalising world will need to move fast to strategically reorientate strategic alliances and secure long-term energy supplies. One such alliance could involve India, with its mighty technology sector, joining the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as non-voting member, or in some sort of free trade zone. This alliance would see a reduction in India’s energy insecurity as it secures long-term import commitments. On the other hand, India’s incredibly strong technology platform and deepening capital markets could attract the excess savings generated in the GCC region, through lower friction access. 

There is ample history linking these two parties. Many Indian companies are de facto running out of GCC member countries, and likewise India is seen as a “must-have” investment destination, not only for Middle East investors, but also globally as the world becomes far more multipolar, with the US, China and EU increasingly pursuing independent agendas and the rest of the world seeking to keep as many options open as possible.  

Historically there has been an attempt already to change the GCC mandate of the regional, intergovernmental political and economic union to a more formal Gulf Union in 2011. We see new alliances being formed globally, all with a view to avoiding too close a commitment to either China or the US. 

Interregional trading zones will secure “closer to home” production and investment, combined with the security of reliable supplies from India’s point of view, and a reliable destination market from the GCC’s point of view. The alliance helps lay the groundwork for the GCC countries to plan for their future beyond oil and gas and for India to accelerate its development via huge new investments in infrastructure and improvements in agricultural productivity together with fossil fuel imports, bridging the way to a post-carbon longer-term future. 

Market impact: The Indian rupee proves far more resilient than its EM peers in a volatile year for markets. The bubbly Indian stock market corrects with other equity markets in early 2022, but proves a strong relative performer from the intra-year lows.

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