Monday, April 22, 2024

Second Quad in the making in the Middle East? – diplomatic



The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of four countries – India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States of America recently met in Saudi Arabia. This is potentially the second quad to include Middle Eastern states, the other quad being India-Israel-UAE-US or I2U2.

a white house statement The meeting said the four NSAs—US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Saudi Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, United Arab Emirates National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on May 7. met up with. in order to “advance their shared vision of a more secure and prosperous Middle East region.” is a reflection of the meeting “unprecedented intensity Indo-US partnership in West Asia at multiple levels.

Both India and the United States have been intensifying their diplomatic outreach in the Middle East in recent years. The Abraham Accords, signed in 2020, have been instrumental in developing normalcy in relations between several countries in the Middle East, including Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, and opening new doors for diplomatic outreach. The normalization of relations between these countries especially opened the envelope to explore new possibilities. Defense And Security Arena.

Although Israel and Saudi Arabia have not yet normalized their diplomatic relations, there is intense backchannel engagement between the two sides, which experts say “open secret for years.” Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are wary of the declining US presence and influence in the Middle East, which binds them. Both are concerned about Iran’s nuclear program and its military funding activity in the region, and they want that the United States would continue to “press” Tehran.


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While relations are on the rise, Saudi Arabia is still not ready to normalize relations with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is still optimistic about Israel’s potential for a stronger partnership, Saying that “the sky is the limit. And even the sky is not the limit, because there are many opportunities in space as well.” Interestingly, Saudi Arabia is trying to make a big deal reward – Riyadh is seeking “security guarantees from the United States, help in developing a civilian nuclear program and fewer sanctions on US arms sales as its price for normalizing relations with Israel.” according to the latest media reportsThe Biden administration seems confident of a Saudi-Israeli peace deal before the end of the year.

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Meanwhile, India is also upping its diplomatic game in the Middle East. India has longstanding ties with the Middle East, but relations have gained further momentum in recent years with reciprocal high-level visits. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and individual GCC countries, notably the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, continue to be important partners for India’s vital energy needs and investments, in addition to the GCC being home to a large Indian expatriate community. But over the past decade the relationship has broadened beyond the idea of ​​remittances from migrants to include defense and security ties, particularly maritime security, counter-terrorism and cyber security.

The Modi government’s “Look West” policy has managed to make serious inroads in the Middle East. Still, it is a delicate relationship that India needs to manage carefully. For example, in the summer of 2022, the region saw anger and protests against India because of controversial remarks made by two BJP officials about Prophet Muhammad. Protests broke out across the region, including in the United Arab Emirates, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to make a short day’s visit on his way back from the G-7 meeting in Germany to quell the matter. Many Muslim majority countries including UAE made strong statements condemning the remarks of BJP leaders. for example came out with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation statement Underscoring the importance of strengthening the shared international responsibility to spread the values ​​of tolerance and human coexistence while preventing any practice that inflames the passions of followers of different religions.

India had to do serious damage control, as it had been warming up to the UAE for nearly a decade. Modi himself visited the country, first in August 2015, a year after becoming prime minister, then in February 2018, and again in August 2019. The July 2022 visit was for damage control, although the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that Modi was in the UAE to pay tribute to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, former UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, following his demise. Apart from strengthening ties after the protests, the visit was also aimed at building a personnel rapport with the new President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.


While both India and the United States have a long-standing presence in the Middle East, what is likely driving the latest momentum is the growing role played by China in the region, such as peace between regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. establish. In early March, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, and Saudi national security advisor Musaid bin Muhammad al-Aiban Put signature on An agreement was signed in Beijing to end years of hostilities and re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Middle East is also an important component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and Chinese state-owned companies building Rail lines, roads, ports and power projects across the region.

Before the visit, US National Security Advisor Sullivan said in a speech The Washington Institute for Near East Policy states that the US vision for the Middle East is built on five key components – partnership, deterrence, diplomacy and de-escalation, integration and values. He gave a detailed description of each of these and in the Partnership area, he talked about his meeting with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

In his speech, Sullivan also referred to the “Middle East Quad” of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the US, saying he “can’t decide [if I2U2] A great acronym or a terrible acronym, but it certainly can be memorable. He said that the “fundamental notion [of the I2U2] connecting South Asia to the Middle East to the United States in ways that advance our economic technology and diplomacy,” and that several projects are already underway and many more are to come in the coming days.

Even though China may not be referred to or written in bold letters, integrating various geographies such as South Asia and the Middle East to bring about greater cooperation in infrastructure, technology development, defense and security is the key to contain China’s growing presence. Very necessary for Middle East and elsewhere. Given that I2U2 is a platform in progress, the US and India are exploring additional combinations of partnerships to make their efforts worthwhile.