"There is a new scent of alliance in the air – The Indo-Abrahamic Alliance – among India, the US, the UAE, and Israel. If one were to predict the coming together of these countries for strategic alliance a few years back, the odds of it happening would have been stacked highly against that person. One should never underestimate the power of politics to bring together or distance countries in the international arena. The alliance could only become a possibility after the signing of Abraham accords between the UAE and Israel in December 2020. There was a long and complicated history between the two countries. So what brought these two countries together? The most common factor for their alliance was the two countries’ anxiety due to increasing Islamist movements and Iran’s and Turkey’s expansionist foreign policy. There have been a lot of positive developments among these countries since the signing of the accords. It has lent new, geostrategic importance in the Indo-Pacific region and the Middle East. The alliance has many implications for the two regions and could be a critical factor in determining the future in the regions.
The Indo-Pacific region is grappling with the dominance of China and its relationship with Pakistan. India is the only country capable of challenging China in the region, but not alone. The rise of China into a massive economy is the real test of the US’s influence in the region, but again it does not wield much power in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China. India has come across as the indispensable ally to ensure stability in the region and check China’s growing influence and power. Mutual benefits bring India and the US together on a closer level as strategic partners. The situation between the two countries has not always been so smooth. In the initial years of India’s independence, it remained largely reliant and supportive of the USSR’s regime. The dissolution of the Soviet power brought about a marked change in the attitude and working of India. After the end of the cold war and the unprecedented rise of China in the region, the systematic changes prompted India to become pro-US. The emergence of India as a significant power with a resurgent economy further brought the two countries closer. Since then, the two countries have been working on many fronts as bilateral partners to ensure peace and stability in the region.
The US and India rely on each other to fulfill their objectives, but the’ Pakistan’ bone of contention keeps the two countries on their toes. Some issues are of crucial concern to India, the most critical security threat being the borders with Pakistan and China. The US has not come to an understanding with India on this matter. Secondly, the US has continued to provide military support to Pakistan and considers it vital for America’s foreign policy despite repeated opposition from India. It is not all smooth sailing between the two countries. India’s foreign policy aims at maintaining healthy relations with the majority of the countries. India had plenty of resistance from the Middle East due to their close ties with Pakistan, especially the UAE and the Saudis. India found it difficult to maintain close relations due to inherent inner issues. The situation changed due to the growing rift between Pakistan and the Gulf countries on the Kashmir and Palestinian issues. Moreover, Pakistan’s alignment with Turkey, which considers itself the Muslim world leader to displace Saudi made matters favorable for India to develop relations with the UAE and Israel. The final nail on the coffin was signing the accords between the UAE and Israel, which further facilitated the development of bilateral relations between India and the Middle East.
The increasing problems between Pakistan and the Gulf countries helped India increase its presence in the Middle East. Islamabad has continued to drift away from Saudi and Abu Dhabi because of its broader alignment with Turkey. The political rift between Islamabad and Abu Dhabi has finally grown large enough to surpass their past friendship. The intensified support of Turkey for Pakistan on the Kashmir issue and its championing of itself as the global leader of Islam puts it against India’s growing Hindu nationalism. While Pakistan has tried to intensify its relationship with Turkey, India is growingly building stronger relations with Turkey’s primary opponents, Abu Dhabi and Israel. The budding relationship between India and Israel has coincided with a stronger relationship with the Gulf.
After signing the accords, trade has blossomed between the US and Israel, primarily in the defense sector, with Israeli support for the US sale of F-35 planes to the UAE. The trade between Israel and the UAE has also increased manifolds. The UAE has announced Abraham Fund to increase technological and cyber capabilities between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. India’s relationship with Israel was already solid, with both countries collaborating on many issues ranging from military defense to space research. The relationship will further improve between the two countries. India’s equation with the UAE is also finally changing for the best of the region. Overall, the connection among the four countries has improved significantly compared to the past. It will improve peace and stability in the region and open new avenues for collaboration.
There is no official identity given to the group of four countries. Indeed, no dearth of opportunities abounds for the dynamic change in the equations between the regions. Nevertheless, it is still too early to say where this alliance will lead. On paper, it may seem that this construct will lead to fruitful developments in the region and diplomatic partnerships in the long run, but it will not be wrong to say that it is mainly to counter China and its rise. China is aiming at increasing its presence in the Middle East as well. The Middle East is a volatile region; one can never be sure what the future has in store for it. The change as and when it comes will be driven by the middle eastern countries themselves, while India is sure to continue its policy of diplomatic relationship. However, its success in the Middle East could be an opportunity for extensive engagement with the West.