India and the great power contest in West Asia
The U.S.-China competition in the region gives New Delhi a new opportunity for multi-engagement with other parties.
USA’s Strategy for West Asia
- Two-Part Strategy: President Biden's approach to West Asia involves strengthening ties between Gulf Arab states and Israel, particularly Saudi Arabia, and reassuring allies of continued U.S. engagement.
- Importance of Saudi-Israel Deal: Biden aims to secure a Saudi-Israeli agreement to bolster Arab-Israeli relations and maintain U.S. influence without military commitments.
- Economic Integration: The U.S. encourages the India-Middle East-Europe Corridor to enhance regional connectivity, benefiting India and ensuring American influence through economic channels.
U.S. Deprioritization and China's Growing Role
- S. Pivot: The U.S. is shifting focus to Eastern Europe and East Asia, deprioritizing West Asia but not exiting entirely.
- China's Involvement: China's increasing engagement in the region poses a challenge as it seeks oil resources and peacemaking roles.
- Dilemma for the U.S.: To counter China's influence, the U.S. aims to strengthen regional alliances, involve India, and compete economically.
Challenges and India's Role
- Saudi-Israel Deal Challenges: Despite progress, challenges remain in achieving a Saudi-Israeli agreement.
- Changing Dynamics: Regional powers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are becoming more independent in their foreign policies, making them less reliant on the U.S.
- India's Multi-Engagement: India should engage with West Asia through multiple channels, including economic corridors, without being swayed by Cold War-like dynamics.