EU-India Security Cooperation - West Asia
ORF, Chatham House and EUISS produced three Background Papers covering West Asia, Maritime Security and Counter Terrorism and Countering Radicalisation. These papers were grouped together as one well produced paper publication. The consortium also held a Workshop and a Public Event in New Delhi in September 2016, as well as a final Public Event in Brussels in November. The public events were well attended by a mix of officials, academics and think tank representatives.
Catalysed by the social and domestic uprisings of 2011, the West Asian and North African region is dotted with fragile and failed states such as Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya. Weakened state institutions and the capture of large swathes of territories by extremists like Islamic State (IS) have allowed such groups to expand their power and influence in the region. Geo-strategic competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran has added another dimension, and religious and ethnic exclusion has also fueled the conflict in these states.
Iran’s resurgence as a regional actor and its involvement—whether real or perceived—in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen has heightened Gulf Arab fears and led them to adopt more assertive regional policies. Ongoing tensions between the two continue to persist and threaten to extend into new arenas.
As the fallout of these conflicts expands beyond the region, West Asia–North Africa (WANA) or the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) as the region is referred to, is now the frontier for global security. For Europe and South Asia, this region is a common periphery. The expanse from South Asia to Europe in particular will feel the impact of any turmoil here. European and Asian security will thus be dependent on how this common periphery and common security challenge is managed by actors in Europe, particularly the EU and India, individually and collectively.
India and the EU member states share key concerns and competencies that can create a lasting foundation for the establishment of a cooperative framework between the two in managing the current turmoil, establishing sustainable stability and working towards the 10
economic integration of the region and its people with the neighbourhood. The prospects and trajectory of cooperation will, however, be contingent on two overarching factors.