The Other Quad

  • IASbaba
  • October 20, 2021
  • 0
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  • GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 
  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

The Other Quad

Context: Recently, the Foreign Ministers of India, the U.S., Israel and the UAE virtual met to discuss on exploring areas of cooperation.

Significance of the new quadrilateral meeting (India, Israel, UAE & USA)

  • It is a strong manifestation of the changes in West Asian geopolitics. 
  • If Israel and the UAE did not even have formal diplomatic relations a year ago, their growing economic and strategic cooperation since Abraham Accords is opening up opportunities for other powers, including India.
  • The four-nation meeting also points to India’s strategic desire to adopt a regional foreign policy strategy towards West Asia, moving beyond its bilateralist approach.
  • Over the years, India has built vibrant bilateral ties with all the countries in the grouping. So India adopting regional approach is natural evolution of this vibrancy given that there is moderation of Israel’s policy towards Arab states.
    • Israel is one of India’s top defence suppliers. 
    • The UAE is vital for India’s energy security and hosts millions of Indian workers.
    • India has deepened its relationship with US as was seen by signing foundational defence agreements and being part of another QUAD grouping.
  • While it is too early to speak of the strategic significance of such a grouping, there are areas where it can deepen its engagement — trade, energy ties, fighting climate change and enhancing maritime security.

Challenges Ahead

  • The U.S. is clearly seeking to lessen its footprint here as part of its pivot to East Asia to tackle China’s rise, which is redrawing West Asia’s traditional equations. India should be careful not to get sucked into the many conflicts of West Asia 
  • While the Abraham Accords made it easier for India to find common ground with the Israelis and UAE, the contradiction between this Israel and Iran remains as intense as ever. India should be mindful of this.
  • With US withdrawing from Afghanistan, India will have to work closely with countries such as Iran to deal with the challenges emanating from a reduced American presence in the region.
  • So the challenge before New Delhi is to retain a healthy relationship with Iran even as it seeks to build a stronger regional partnership with the U.S.-Israel-UAE bloc.

Connecting the dots:

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