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Watch | The Abraham Accords as India’s West Asia bridge

A video explainer on how India’s strategic footprint in West Asia is affected by The Abraham Accords

On September 15, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for the signing of the historic Abraham Accord.

According to the deal, the United Arab Emirates formally recognised the state of Israel, while the latter halted its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank of Palestine.

The Abraham Accords is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years.

Israel inaugurated its first diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi and direct flights, business and tourism picked up between the two countries in 2021.

However, not all Arab States have been on board with the geopolitical shifts the Accords have pushed through.

Despite a lot of effort from Israel, under Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia has maintained a distance from this arrangement.

India and The Abraham Accords

India had welcomed the Accords, highlighting its support for mechanisms that offer peace and stability in the region.

India now has stronger, multifaceted and growing socioeconomic engagements with Israel and the Gulf countries than before.

With over eight million Indian diaspora in the Gulf remitting annually nearly $50 billion, annual merchandise trade of over $150 billion and sourcing of nearly two-thirds of India’s hydrocarbon imports and major investments

India is the preferred source of manpower, food products, pharmaceuticals, gems, jewellery and light engineering items.

Indians are also the biggest stakeholders in Dubai’s real estate, tourism and Free Economic Zones.

The Abraham Accords as India’s West Asia bridge

India has looked at an increased strategic footprint in West Asia for some time now. Thanks to Abraham Accords, there have been some developments on the defence front between India and the West Asian region.

Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal R.K. Bhadauria visited Israel in August 2021

According to reports, an Indian contingent of the Indian Air Force will now visit Israel in October to take part in multilateral military exercises.

In the same week as ACM Bhadauria’s visit, India also conducted the ‘Zayed Talwar’ naval exercises with the UAE off the coast of Abu Dhabi

In December 2020, Indian Army chief, General M.M. Naravane, visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia, becoming the first chief of the Indian Army to do so.

India has had to play out a delicate balancing act between the Arab Gulf and Israel over the decades. The signing of the Abraham Accords has removed this significant strategic obstacle

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