India and the new Quad in West Asia

Synopsis: With the new opportunities, India should also prepare for the risks the new Quad (West Asia) will offer.

Introduction

Trump administration and the Abrahamic accord eased the relations between Israel and UAE. With the proposed Quadrilateral Alliance of India-USA-UAE-Israel and Indian foreign ministries visiting Israel, India would now enter into the high stakes game of the Middle East.

What is the Indo-Abrahamic Accord and why it is important?

Abraham Accords are a joint statement made between Israel, the United States and the United Arab Emirates on August 13, 2020. It also refers to the agreement reached between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE to normalise relations between them.

Read more: The Abrahan Accord as India’s West Asia bridge

Indo-Abrahamic Accord: Amidst the reshaping of geo-political order in West Asia, India’s relations with the UAE and Israel have gained momentum. This growing convergence of interest between India, UAE and Israel can be formalized under an official coalition i.e. an Indo-Abrahamic accord. The idea was first suggested by Mohammed Soliman, an Egyptian scholar.

Read more: Making a case for Indo-Abrahamic accord

What foreign policy India adopts in the Middle East?

One of the gains of India’s foreign policy has been non-ideological engagement with middle-east. India’s close engagement with the USA over the last few years has also allowed alignment with the USA in the Middle East.

The new minilateral consultation involving India-Israel-UAE-USA further cements India’s position in the Middle East. India knows that the USA is downsizing its forces in the Middle East. Therefore, this serves as a perfect opportunity for India.

While this grouping may not be as powerful as QUAD, but it has opened doors of middle-east to India.

How the change in regime in the Middle East can help India?

The new government in Israel is working towards resolving the conflict with Palestine. There is also an increase in economic and technological cooperation between Israel and the UAE. There is also a regime change in the USA. This all can help India to deepen its ties in the Middle East, as India can simultaneously build relations with the Middle Eastern countries.

What will be the benefits of the new Quad?

According to the International Federation of Indo-Israeli Chambers of Commerce, India’s scale with Israeli innovation and Emirati capital could produce immense benefits to all three countries. Beyond trade, there is potential for India, UAE and Israel to collaborate on many areas — from semiconductor design and fabrication to space technology.

First, India already built its soft power image in the Middle East. It has around 8 million diaspora present there. With the new alliance, India can use this platform to harness various opportunities like Big data, AI, Quantum computing, export its products in their market etc.

Second, the group will help to focus on non-military issues like trade, energy, and environment and on promoting public goods.

Third, the platform will help India to pursue wide-ranging minilateral partnerships in the region. With major powers like France, Russia, China is drawn to this region, the alliance will help India to shape its position in changing the geopolitics of this region.

What is the way forward?

India should also maintain its strong relations with Iran to keep a check on the Afghan Taliban. India needs a careful balancing act in the Middle East to secure its long-term strategic interests.

Source: This post is based on the following articles

  • India and the new Quad in West Asia” published in Indian Express on 19th October 2021.
  • “Second Quad? Exciting opportunities await India in Middle East, but not without risks” published in Indian Express on 18th October 2021.
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