Foreign Policy Watch: India-Middle East

Making a case for Indo-Abrahamic accord

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Abraham Accords

Mains level : Paper 2- Opportunities for India in middle east

Context

An Egyptian scholar, Mohammed Soliman, has recently written about the significance of what he calls the emerging “Indo-Abrahamic Accord” and its trans-regional implications to the west of India.

About Abraham Accord

  • Abraham Accord, signed in August last year in Washington, signifies the normalisation of Israel’s relations with the UAE and Bahrain.
  • The UAE and Bahrain were followed by Sudan and Morocco in signing the Abraham Accords.
  • Although Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) had established diplomatic relations with Israel earlier, the Abraham Accords are widely seen as making a definitive breakthrough in the relations between Israel and the Arabs.

Factors in favour of accord

  • Depth of trilateral relationship: Although India had relations with UAE and Israel for many years, they certainly have acquired political depth and strategic character recently.
  • Converging interests: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s assertive claims for the leadership of the Islamic world and hostile stand against India on several issues, indicates converging interests between India, the UAE, and Israel.
  • One of the unintended consequences of Erdogan’s overweening regional ambition, his alienation of Israel as well as moderate Arabs, his conflict with Greece, and his embrace of Pakistan is the extraordinary opportunity for India to widen India’s reach to the west of the Subcontinent
  • Cooperation: There are many areas like defence, aerospace and digital innovation where the three countries can pool their resources and coordinate development policies.
  • India’s extended neighbourhood: The notion of a “Greater Middle East” can provide a huge fillip to India’s engagement with the extended neighbourhood to the west.

India-Turkey relations

  • Hostile approach on Kashmir: Turkey has been championing Pakistan’s case on Kashmir after India changed the territorial status quo of the state in August 2019.
  • Blocking NSG entry: At Pakistan’s behest, Turkey is also blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • The new geopolitical churn is also driven by Pakistan’s growing alignment with Turkey and its alienation from its traditionally strong supporters in the Arab Gulf — the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Opportunities for India in extended neighbourhood to the west

  • Relations with Greece: The renewed territorial disputes between Turkey and Greece, and Turkey’s quest for regional dominance has drawn Greece and the UAE closer.
  • Greece has also looked towards India to enhance bilateral security cooperation. 
  • Greece’s European partners like France, which have a big stake in the Mediterranean as well as the Arab Gulf, have taken an active interest in countering Turkey’s regional ambitions.
  • Erdogan’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to overthrow the current political order in the region, has deeply angered the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • India’s relations with Egypt: If there is one country that can give substantive depth to the Indo-Abrahamic Accord it is Egypt.
  • Located at the cusp of Mediterranean Europe, Africa, and Asia, Egypt is the very heart of the Greater Middle East.
  • Independent India’s engagement with the region in the 1950s was centred on a close partnership with Egypt.
  • If Delhi and Cairo lost each other in recent decades, India can rebuild the strategic partnership jointly with the Egypt government which is calling for the construction of a “New Republic” in Egypt.
  • The notion of a “Greater Middle East” can provide a huge fillip to India’s engagement with the extended neighbourhood to the west.
  • The familiar regional institutions like the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation might endure but are incapable of addressing the region’s contradictions.

Consider the question “Amid Turkey’s quest for regional dominance and hostility towards India, the deepening engagement between India, the UAE and Israel can be converted into a formal coalition on the lines of Abraham Accords” Comment.

Conclusion

The opportunities that are coming India’s way to the west of the Subcontinent are as consequential as those that have recently emerged in the east.

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