The Abrahan Accord as India’s West Asia bridge

Source: The Hindu

Relevance: Study impact of Abraham accord on India

Synopsis: The signing of the Abraham Accord has helped India to remove strategic obstacles & aided defence cooperation

Introduction

India welcomed the Abraham Accord as it will bring peace and stability to the region. This accord is beneficial for India as it removed the long strategic obstacle for India: to maintain the balance between the Arab world & Israel.

About Abraham Accords:

These 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.

Click here to read more about Abraham Accords

How is India, strengthening the relationship with West Asian Region

  1. India conducted “Zayed Talwar” naval exercise with the UAE. This will further help to deepen the fast-developing strategic cooperation between both countries
  2. Visit of Indian Army Chief in Dec 2020 to the UAE & Saudi Arabia, becomes the first chief of the Indian army to do so
  3. Indian Navy Chief’s visit to the UAE & Oman. During the visit, the chief signed a deal with Oman for the access to Duqm Port, including dry dock to be used by the Indian Navy

Relationship with West Asia

  • Maintaining energy security is vital for India, given India meets 80% of its oil requirements via imports.
  • India has increased strategic defence relations with West Asian countries. This included the IAF visit to Saudi Arabia in 2015 to hosting the Iranian navy in 2018.
  • As tensions between Iran, Israel & the USA escalated, the Indian Navy carried out operation Sankalp which escorted 16 Indian-flagged vessels a day.
  • The Abraham accord may pave the way for greater defense relations with West Asian countries.
  • Right from NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) days, West Asia has been the focus of India’s foreign policy and will remain so in the near future.

Relationship with Iran

Iran, as a part of West Asia, plays a significant role:

  • India used Iranian airspace & facilities to evacuate its diplomatic staff from Kandahar. This shows a level of strategic interest and commonality at play on certain issues in the region
  • Projects like the Chabahar port & Chahbahar-Zahedan rail project plays a critical role in India- Iran relations.
  • Recent visits by various ministers on both sides highlights strategic cooperation between both countries despite the sanctions by the USA or Iran conflict with other West Asian countries.

Way forward

India’s assertive role in West Asia will be reflective of its interest and its greater role in West Asia and the world.

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