M J Akbar tasked with looking after India’s ties with Gulf

New Delhi: Newly appointed Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar has been tasked with looking after India’s engagement with West Asia, a strategically key region with which the Modi government has stepped up its engagement.

Responsibility given to Akbar, a journalist-turned- politician, also includes India’s relations with the European Union, Central and Western Europe, except the big three — France, Germany and Britain.

The Gulf region is home to nearly five million Indians and key for India’s energy security. Akbar is known to have expertise on the Gulf and its politics.

The Modi government has been trying to put India’s ties with countries of the region on a new trajectory.

Akbar has also been given responsibility of bilateral ties with West Africa and Eurasian countries, barring Russia.

Akbar, the second Minister of State along with V K Singh, will also handle issues relating to the United Nations.