US magazine highlights India's growing role in Middle East's financetext_fields
Washington: Foreign Policy, a renowned US magazine focusing on global affairs, has highlighted India's emergence as a "major player" in the Middle East and has called it one of the most significant geopolitical developments in the region in recent years.
The article points to India's deepening ties with influential countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a reflection of the changing international order and the eagerness of these nations to benefit from the new multipolarity. Author Steven A Cook argues that this development, despite its implications for the United States, could paradoxically prove beneficial.
Cook suggested that the United States should view India's growing role in the Middle East as an opportunity rather than solely through the lens of great-power competition with China. It argues that India's increased presence in the region could serve as an additional counterweight to China, aligning with the Biden administration's focus on containing China.
Cook suggested that having New Delhi as an alternative to Washington would prevent Russia and China from assuming undisputed dominance in the region. While India had shown little interest in playing a larger role in the Middle East in the past, the author observes a significant shift over the past decade. The article emphasises the efforts of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to strengthen their relations with India and says that it is a shift away from their historical alignment with Pakistan. This shift is driven by shared interests in containing Islamist extremism and a growing economic partnership between India and these Gulf nations.
India's relationship with Israel is noted as one of the most well-developed in the region. The ties between the two countries have flourished in various fields, particularly in high-tech and defence. Cook also mentions the 2017 visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel, the first by an Indian head of government, and the subsequent visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India. It also highlighted recent economic developments, such as the Adani Group's partnership with an Israeli company to win a tender for Haifa Port and ongoing negotiations for an India-Israel Free Trade Agreement. While acknowledging the complexities of the India-Israel relationship, including India's support for the Palestinians and friendly ties with Iran, the article points out the changing dynamics and potential for further collaboration, reported PTI.
The author also highlighted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Egypt, characterising it as part of an ongoing Egyptian-Indian alliance. Egypt is viewed by India as a gateway for trade with Africa and Europe, much like China sees it.
However, the author cautioned against assuming that India will align completely with the United States on Middle Eastern issues. India's differing views on Iran diverge from those of the United States and Israel, suggesting that Washington should temper its expectations regarding India's economic and security ties to the region.