The Abraham Accords as India’s West Asia bridge (The Hindu, GS-2, International relations)

Context:- Air Chief Marshal R.K. Bhadauria is an Indian Air Force chief recently visited to Israel which shows a window to study how New Delhi is taking advantage of the Abraham Accords. This abraham accord was signed between Israel and some Arab States led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2020. The Indian contingent of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will now visit Israel in October to take part in multilateral military exercises; some reports suggest this event in the future.

What are the India’s stake in west Asia:-

    • India imports 86% of its crude oil requirements and top of it 70% comes from West Asia.
    • Regional states such as Saudi due it’s regional power hegemony, Israel due to direct security threat, UAE etc also don’t want the deal to be restored, or if any talks prevail then these countries must be consulted.
    • Iran has its own strength where China is giving her required oxygen, and Russia requires food.
    • The Iranian ability to mobilize militants across the region is viewed by Israel + Gulf Arab state-> s threatening their security, 
    • Countries are concerned about Iran’s influence with their Shia populations as well.
    • Iran’s capabilities in precision missiles, drones and in other defense areas are also a matter of regional anxiety.
    • India’s diaspora is around 7-8 million.
    • More than 50% of the remittances come from west Asia.
  • Oil-> energy security
  • India’s investment will be safe in west Asia.
  • India’s reach to Afghanistan.
  • Iran will not have to be dependent on China.

Deepening cooperation:-

  • India conducted the ‘Zayed Talwar’ naval exercises with the UAE which secured India’s interest in the extended Indian ocean region, Interest in West Asia.
  • M.M. Naravane has visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia and became the first chief of the Indian Army to go to the Arab world.
  • Admiral Sunil Lanba the chief of the Indian Navy visited the UAE and Oman in 2017.
  • Duqm Port in Oman will provide access to the facility of ports to Indian including dry dock use by the Indian Navy.

How this accord will be beneficial to India:-

  • Israel inaugurated its first diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi at the same time direct flights, business and tourism picking up between the two countries over the past few months.
  • India’s trajectory towards an increased strategic footprint in West Asia has been in development for some time now.
  • India has hosted Iranian naval warships in 2018.
  • India took defence of the critical waterways in and around the Persian Gulf.
  • The extended Indian Ocean Region (IOR)  and  Arabian Sea has taken the forefront  in Indian strategic thinking.
  • Tensions between Iran, Israel and the United States flared up recently in the Persian Gulf and to counter this issue the Indian Navy orchestrated Operation Sankalp.
  • We must remember that despite India’s rare but arguable successes in a ‘non­alignment’ approach in West Asia India has taken one­ sided approach in the past which is evident from the examples such as training Iraqi Air Force cadets on MiG aircraft in 1958 to 1989 at the same time also maintaining good relations with former President Saddam Hussein. 

Way Forward:-

  • Iran will play a significant part in India’s outreach in west Asia and extended Indian ocean region in the months to come as the crisis in Afghanistan deepens. 
  • India must use Iranian airspace and its facilities during any evacuation of its diplomatic staff from Kandahar in July showcases a level of strategy.
  • Recent visits by India’s External Affairs Minister along with Defense Minister followed by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami’s visit to India highlight a revitalized strategic cooperation between the two countries despite multiple obstacles in the bilateral relations the Gulf and Iran via proxy battles in theatres such as Yemen, Syria and beyond.

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