The India – Abrahamic Accord

A virtual meeting took place between foreign ministers of India, UAE, Israel, and the USA for the first time. This meeting marks a new set of geopolitical relations between power centers of the world. This new understanding between the four nations is also informally being called as QUAD group.

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What is Abrahamic Accord?

The Abrahamic accord is a term collectively used to normalise peace agreements between Israel and some Gulf/Arab nations. On 13th August 2020, a joint statement was released by Israel, the United Arab Emirates and United States of America.

The joint statement was about UAE formally recognizing Israel as a state/nation and in return, Israel dropping its plan of annexing parts of the West Bank in Palestine. After UAE, Bahrain became the next Arab nation to formally recognize Israel and agree with having bilateral relations with the Jewish country.

Jordan was the last country from Arab nations to normalize its relation with Israel way back in 1994, while Egypt was the first Gulf country to formalize its relation with Israel in 1979 after signing peace treaties with both of them.

The name ‘Abraham’ is given to the peace treaty between Gulf nations and Israel because both the power centers follow religions that believe in strict monotheism and Abraham is a central figure in both Jewish Israel and Muslim Arab.

As per Jewish holy books, Abraham was the progenitor of twelve tribes of Jews. Hence, he is referred to as “Our father Abraham” by all the Jews across the world. Similarly in Islam, Abraham is known as a prophet of God and is a figure of reverence amongst Muslims.

Reason for friction between Arabs and Israel

The major reason for war-like tensions between the State of Israel and Arab nations is the issue of Palestine. Israel was created in 1948 as a part of the sole Jewish homeland that is based on the belief that Jerusalem is the place where Judaism took birth.

Similarly, Palestinians claim that there was no such thing as Israel before 1948. Instead, they believe that Palestine has existed for thousands of years and so is a natural homeland for Palestine citizens. Both the states/nations call Jerusalem their capital.

This is the reason Israel and Arabs have been at war for as many as eight times since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Most of the time it is Israel who dominated the Arab nations in the war. The most crucial war between the two centers was the ‘six day war’ in which Israel defeated combined Arab forces and annexed Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and West bank.

The Indian factor in Arab-Israel relations and Abraham Accord

India established full diplomatic relations with Israel only in 1991, forty three years after its creation. Still, the Indian governments had to choose a careful diplomatic policy which was based on balancing between the two powers.

With Abraham’s accord now in place and the normalization of Arab-Israel relations, India hopes to take full advantage of this peace situation for its benefit. Some of the sectors in which India can excel by being part of this ‘Quad group’ are:

Technology – Israel is the second biggest exporter of arms to India. They also provide cybersecurity solutions to India in order to resist Cyber Attacks. By actively collaborating with Israel, India can now afford more support in these sectors by the Jewish nation.

Economic –   Gulf region is the place where as many as eight million Indians live. Annually, they send remittances worth $50 billion to India. Furthermore, trade worth $150 billion takes place between India and Arab nations and two/thirds of India’s hydrocarbons is imported from Gulf. With India now a part of the Quad, more direct interaction with UAE would result in even better chances of economic cooperation.

Geopolitical – With UAE-Pakistan relations at an all-time low, India can take the support of UAE to counter Pakistan’s advantage within Islamic nations. Also, they can now be a part of more significant security deals with Israel without antagonizing Gulf nations.

Defence – Israel has a powerful weapon manufacturing space, India has the fourth largest military and is looking to manufacture their own weapons system while UAE is trying to modernize its defence forces. All three countries can help each other via transfer of technology, training of forces and up-gradation of forces through research and development.

In the long run, it is a win-win situation for India as normalization takes centre stage in the Arab region via Abraham Accord.