Strategic convergence between India, UAE, USA and Saudi Arabia

Strategic convergence between India, UAE, USA and Saudi Arabia

News: Recently, the meeting in Riyadh between Saudi Arabia and the US, UAE, and India underlines the growing strategic convergence between Delhi and Washington in the Gulf.

What is the change in approach of India towards Gulf Nation?
 It is a departure from the traditional approaches towards the Middle East. India followed the principles of the Nehruvian foreign policy which believed that Delhi must either oppose Washington or keep its distance from it in the Middle East.
 Modi’s foreign policy rejected the notion that Delhi can’t be visibly friendly to Israel. He also transformed India’s uneasy relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, into solid strategic partnerships.
 France has emerged as an important partner in the Gulf and the Western Indian Ocean. India now has a trilateral dialogue with UAE and France as well.
 Delhi and London are expected to work together in the Gulf soon. Britain enjoys much residual influence in the Gulf.
 The formation of a four-nation grouping known as I2U2 brought the US, India, Israel, and the UAE together.
 India seek to form a QUAD grouping of its own with USA, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

What led to changes in foreign policies of USA and India?
 Pakistan’s continuing strategic decline makes it less relevant to the changing geopolitics of the Gulf. This coupled with violent extremism and a weak economy in Pakistan has ensured that their sphere of influence is waning making way for USA and India to fill the vacuum.
 The Gulf kingdoms (especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE) have accumulated massive financial capital and economic transformation will reduce their dependence on oil. They have also begun to diversify their strategic partnerships, develop nationalism, promote religious tolerance and initiate social reform. These reforms have prompted towards increasing business and trade opportunities with the region.

What options does it open for India?
 India is looking for business opportunities in this part of world. With International North-South Transport Corridor and Ashgabat agreement, India has cemented its access to Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia.
 If a Western Asia railway network is agreed upon with USA, UAE and Saudi Arabia it will further improve our trade, economic, tourism and cultural ties with Middle-east countries.
 Better ties will also help overcoming violent religious extremism within the Subcontinent.
 India should go for modernisation of Delhi’s strategic discourse on the Gulf and a conscious effort to change the outdated popular narratives on the Arabian Peninsula.
Source – Indian Express, Money Control 

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