Diplomatist Special Report: West Asia - North Africa 2018 WANA 2018 - Page 8

India's West Asia and North Africa Policy: Is It Time To Reset? By SHIVA SHANKAR PANDIAN* I n 2013, a two-day brainstorming deliberation in New Delhi brought together Indian envoys based in West Asia and North Africa (WANA), these policymakers conceptualized on what is called the ‘Look Middle East' policy marking a strategic widening of the country's foreign policy approach towards the region. Until then, the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region did not top the list of India's diplomatic priorities, despite the region's signifi cant economic value, cultural connections, geographical proximity, and shared security concerns. For India, West Asian and North African countries are signifi cant for numerous reasons. First was energy security, an important ingredient of India’s interest in the region. It is reliant on imports for 80 percent of its oil and energy needs. Second, bilateral trade; WANA region accounts nearly 18 percent of India's total exports, over $200 billion. Third, WANA countries are becoming increasingly important for India's food security, as India imports chemical fertilizers, phosphate especially from Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt and so on. Fourth, re