Oct 20: Enhancing Cooperation in West Asia – https://youtu.be/zD0KEjR4oJ0
- GS-II – Global Groupings
Enhancing Cooperation in West Asia
In News: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a “fruitful” first quadrilateral meeting with his counterparts from the US, Israel and the UAE on ways to expand economic and political cooperation in the Middle East and Asia, including through trade, infrastructure, combating climate change, energy cooperation, and enhancing maritime security.
- The new “Quad” meeting comes on the back of the momentum created by the Abraham Accords. And it follows a meeting in Washington between Blinken, Lapid and Sheikh Abdullah that reviewed the progress of normalization of Arab-Israeli ties.
- India, Israel and the UAE have already established trilateral cooperation—in trade and investment—since the Abraham Accords. In May, India, Israel and the UAE had clinched their first trilateral partnership under which an Israeli company was to produce robotic solar cleaning technology in India for a project in the UAE.
Main discussion points
- People-to-people ties in technology and science, and how to support global public health in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Shared issues of concern in the region and globally, and the importance of expanding our economic and political collaboration
- Support for public health at the time of the covid-19 pandemic
- The most important thing to look out for is synergy – synergy which will help us work together in all the areas that preoccupies us. Around this table we have a unique set of capabilities, knowledge and experiences that can be used to create a network that we all want to create
- The key to achieving what they were aiming at was quickly moving from government-to-government to business-to-business.
- Emphasised on the need for this quadrilateral grouping to quickly put adequate mechanisms in place to translate efforts into real businesses around the globe.
- Highlighted trade, climate change, energy, maritime security as the core points of debate, along with generally expanding economic and political cooperation in the region.
- In September last year Israel, UAE and Bahrain had signed Abraham Accords brokered by the US which has subsequently led to normalising of relations between Israel and a number of Arab Gulf countries.
- Continues to be the most important strategic and defence partner for Israel, UAE and India.
- New Delhi and Abu Dhabi have cultivated a deep and strategic allignment from diplomacy to military affairs.
- India and Israel elevated bilateral relations to a strategic partnership during the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in July 2017. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has focused on expanding knowledge-based partnership, which includes collaboration in innovation and research, including boosting the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- India has also welcomed the Abraham Accords.
At the end of the conversation, it was decided that each minister will appoint senior-level professionals to a joint working group that will formulate options for cooperation in the areas identified by the ministers. The intention is to hold an in-person meeting of the ministers in the coming months at Expo 2020 in Dubai.
The Way Forward for India
- The new “Quad” gives India the flexibility to engage more freely with Israel and India’s partners in the Gulf region. Israel is a key security partner with defence trade between the two countries seen as valued at about $1 billion annually.
- Some of the Gulf countries with whom India has developed close are seen as key interlocutors on Afghanistan, Qatar being a case in point. The UAE has been an interlocutor for India when it comes to Pakistan.
- Cooperation with Iran is a key element of its strategy for Afghanistan given that Tehran has ties with the Taliban and is also crucial for the implementation of the Chabahar port.
- Increasing security congruence with the U.S. could enable growing cooperation in fields significant for India’s transformation: energy, trade, investment, education and health.
- Other areas in which India and the U.S. could increase cooperation are: climate change and energy, on tech solutions for renewable energy, and on digital cooperation.
Can you answer the following questions?
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