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India and the great power contest in West Asia

  • Published
    25th Sep, 2023

Context:

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.
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