India, Israel, US and UAE: A New ‘Quad’ in the Offing

After the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad or QUAD) - a strategic dialogue between the United States, India, Japan and Australia, a new ‘Quad’ is emerging.

  • Recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his counterparts from Israel, the US and the UAE have agreed to establish a forum for economic cooperation at a virtual quadrilateral meeting (on 18 October 2021).

Aim of the Grouping

  • The aim of the grouping is to work towards joint infrastructure projects in the fields of transportation, technology, maritime security, and economics and trade.

Abraham Accords: The Door Opener

  • The meeting was built on the momentum created by the Abraham Accords of last year, which is expected to help in normalizing relations with the Arab states.
  • The meeting is a breakthrough towards consolidation of the security alignments in the region that began with the Abraham Accords that four Arab countries – UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco signed with Israel and normalised their relations with that country.

India & Abraham Accords Process

  • India has backed the Abraham Accords process.
  • According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), these efforts are in line with India supporting peace and stability in West Asia, to which it describes as an ‘Extended Neighbourhood’.
  • The recent visit of external Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar to Israel and the Abraham Accords notwithstanding, India’s excellent bilateral relations with the countries in the region including sworn enemies Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel have been a remarkable success story of India’s foreign policy.
  • India cooperates with these countries in diverse fields including a robust strategic defence and security relationship with some of these.

India’s West Asia Outreach

  • West Asia looms large on India’s horizon though the focus over the last few years has been the east.
  • It is the source of 60% of India‘s oil and gas and the remittances from the large Indian Diaspora in the region is the largest contributor to India’s healthy foreign exchange reserves.
  • So, it is therefore not only important for India to be engaged with this region but also to ensure that the regional stability and security is maintained.
  • Countries such as the UAE and Israel are oases of stability in a region that is a simmering cauldron of political volatility, internecine warfare and state supported insurgencies.
  • As far as Defence Cooperation with UAE is concerned, for the first time the Indian Army Chief had visited that country, maritime cooperation is one of the critical components of the relations.
  • Earlier this year three countries – UAE, India and Israel had concluded the first trilateral partnership. In this first trilateral partnership, for a project based in UAE, an Israeli company will produce a robotic solar cleaning technology in India.