West Asia – US, India, New Quad, I2U2 and other groups

Recently, a meeting of National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India, USA and UAE was hosted by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and UAE are part of a region called ‘West Asia’ or ‘Middle East’ and are part of India’s ‘look West’ policy. India has even joined a platform called I2U2 (India, Israel, USA and UAE) which is also called New Quad.

Furthermore, the coming together of these countries is referred to as the formation of the ‘second quad’ in the region. The primary aim of this grouping is stated to “connect South Asia to the Middle East to the United States in ways that promote economic technology and diplomacy”.

West Asia

West Asia
  1. It is a region in the westernmost part of Asia. It is observed as a collection of Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Mesopotamia, the Armenian Highlands, the Levant, the island of Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, and the southern part of the Caucasus Region (Transcaucasia). The Isthmus of Suez separates the region from the African Continent.
  2. West Asia is the world’s largest crude oil and gas reserves. Countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq are major producers and exporters of oil and natural gas products.
  3. It is also located at an important geostrategic location. It shares borders with Asia, Europe and Africa, hence, it is vital for navigation and connectivity through the continents.
  4. It is often considered a crucial region for security and conflict. The region is mostly conflict-driven like Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Israel etc. and is vital for the maintenance of global security due to the involvement of big players like the US, the UK, Russia, China etc. in the region.
  5. It is also having religious and cultural significance as many of the religions like Islam, Christianity, and Judaism trace their roots to West Asia.

I2U2 in West Asia

  1. I2U2 came into force in October 2021 following the Abraham Accords between Israel and the UAE. It was started as the ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’ to deal with issues concerning maritime security, infrastructure and transport in the region. It is also called the ‘West Asian Quad’.
  2. It is a new grouping of I2 – India and Israel and U2 – USA and the UAE.
  3. It would work to promote security cooperation amount the member state. Also, each of the countries will be having its technological hub to facilitate technological development. Biotechnology will be the key pillar in technological cooperation.
  4. They would also work closely in ensuring food security for all the members as it is one of the main concerns. Also, They could cooperate and coordinate on the residual and ad-hock issues like covid-19, trade, climate, terrorism etc.

Implications of the Meeting in West Asia

  1. It will improve ties with West Asia where India has deep economic interests like the import of oil and natural gas and people-to-people connections as West Asia consists of a huge Indian diaspora. It will also strengthen previous agreements like CEPA with UAE. Also, It helps India and US to deepen their relationships.
  2. The New Quad will also strengthen India’s position as a global security provider and a commendable strategic partner. It will lay a strong foundation among Russia, the EU, China, UK etc. for India’s strategic Importance.
  3. It will also help to aid the security and sovereignty in the region. As a major amount of trade passed through the red sea, the Western Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz etc., the freedom of navigation depends upon the good relations with the West Asian countries.
  4. It will also give access to the enormous market of West Asian countries. The West Asian countries have high per capita income and huge purchasing power. Indian products can land in the market and add up to the Current Account Surplus in India.
  5. China has been a key player in the region. It has mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia and has signed a 25 years cooperation pact with Iran. hence, it becomes vital for India to engage with the region and leave its footprints in the area.

Reservations regarding the Meeting

  1. there is a lack of clarity in the group. As the group is new, it lacks a vision and a proper strategic document to highlight the goals and aspirations of the group.
  2. There is a huge imbalance of power among the member of the group. The US is unanimously powerful in the group and will dominate the security aspect of the group in comparison to other members like India.
  3. there is also a lack of consensus on various issues amongst the member countries. For example, the US strongly condemns Russian actions in Ukraine and India has maintained a diplomatic stand on the same.
  4. India has been practising the doctrine of strategic autonomy by not supporting one state against another in the region. However, any of the US-sponsored deals and alliances might affect the strategic autonomy of India which is seen as a neutral state in West Asia.
  5. There are also many conflicts amongst the West Asian states like the shia sunni conflict. Also, the region is divided and fragmented to pose security as well as geopolitical challenges. It would be challenging for India to manage one state against the other.

Probable Solutions

  1. bilateral tensions and concerns amount the member states must be addressed and there must be a balancing act by New Delhi for greater participation and cooperation with all the members of West Asia especially of the New and Old Quad in West Asia.
  2. Apart from security, there must be cooperation in new and emerging technologies, investments, climate finance, green technology etc. This would ensure greater dependence and will ensure the smooth running of the supply chains for India.
  3. Combined initiatives to empower infrastructure, climate change mitigation, and public health, can help
    in the development of West Asia as well as the Indian landmass. Moreover, it can serve as a role model for other countries and groupings.
  4. The group must target to resolve the growing concerns like energy, food security and economic growth in the West Asia region and South Asia. This would help maintain global peace and security for all in the region.

 

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