By Kamran Bokhari
Summary The Middle East and South Asia are, in many ways, organically linked to one another. The most significant dynamic linking the two regions involves the quadrangular relationship between Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and India. Traditionally, the Saudis and the Pakistanis have been allies while the interests of the Indians and the Iranians have tended to converge. More recently, the sectarian conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the rivalry between India and Pakistan have intersected in complex ways, disrupting these historical alignments.
On April 3, Saudi Arabia conferred its highest civilian award on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter’s two-day visit to the kingdom. The King Abdulaziz Sash, as it is called, is named after the founder of the modern kingdom. The Saudis have bestowed it upon a number of world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron