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Saudi Arabia Looks East: Imperatives and Implications


As a critical orientation in Saudi Arabia’s interactions with the outside world, ‘looking East’ has breathed new life into the Arab country’s rather mundane and modest foreign policy, long characterised by strong attachment to Western countries, the United States in particular. Despite their explicit intention not to replace pivotal Western allies with Asian partners, the Saudis have fostered closer connections to the East virtually in every area, covering politico-strategic, military, economic, technological, and cultural spheres. The Saudi looking-East drive has, moreover, dovetailed neatly with an equally salient approach among major Asian nations to advance their vastly expanding interests in important Middle East countries.
Keywords: Saudi Arabia, looking-East, Middle East, Asia, foreign policy, trade, oil