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25th May 2023 (8 Topics)

A middle kingdom dawns on India’s west

Context:

The 32nd Arab League Summit held in Jeddah was unique in multiple ways. The summit readmitted Syria and heard the Ukrainian President, a special invitee.

The Saudi Angle

  • Normalized relations with Iran: Saudi has normalized relations with the Iran and ended the 45 year old hostility and geo-religious rivalry. This has reduced the friction among their respective proxies like Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
  • Arab World Leadership: Saudi prince has carved out the central path to give leadership to the Arab world, which is facing the leadership vacuum. The main contender of Arab leadership, i.e. Egypt, is facing economic crisis.
  • Diplomatic autonomy: Saudi has normalized the relations with the Iran through the Chinese mediation. Such action was carried out without the U.S.A. consent. Thus, the Saudi has asserted the diplomatic autonomy.

Riyadh’s Challenges

  • Foreign Policy: Foreign pOlicy of the Saudi Arabia has seen several unsteady movements since the Jamal Khashoggi episode in 2018 . Thus greater maturity and consistency is required by the Saudi Arabia.
  • Irreversible actions: Various initiatives towards regional reconciliation have not yet become irreversible and could still unravel.
  • Ties with other players: Saudi Arabia ties with UAE and Qatar are friction prone and could exacerbate.

India’s stakes

  • Aligning strategy: India should realign her strategy with the changing geo-political shift and carefully watch the developments carefully.
  • Improve relations: India enjoy cordial relations with the Saudi but they are still below par. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be re-invited for the India visit postponed last year
  • Synergize relationship: At many levels, India should coordinate the bilateral Strategic Partnership Council, take advantage of complementary energy sources, and cooperate more closely to secure the region.
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