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New Quadrilateral Economic Forum- The Other Quad

New Quadrilateral Economic Forum- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: International Relations- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


UPSC Current Affairs


New Quadrilateral Economic Forum- Context

  • Recently, the virtual meet of the Foreign Ministers of India, the U.S., Israel and the UAE was held. This shows a strong manifestation of the changes in West Asian geopolitics.

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New Quadrilateral Economic Forum- Changing Geopolitical Equation

  • Abraham Accord: Israel and the UAE started formal diplomatic relations a year ago. Abraha accord was mediated by the USA between Israel, UAE and Bahrain with an aim to normalize ties of Israel with UAE and the Kingdom of Bahrain.
    • Impact: Their growing economic and strategic cooperation is opening up opportunities for other powers, including India.
  • Launch of a New Quadrilateral Economic Forum: It is a new quadrilateral forum between India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States.
    • It was launched at a virtual meeting attended by their respective external affairs ministers.
    • The four-nation meeting also points to India’s strategic desire to adopt a regional foreign policy strategy towards West Asia, transcending its bilateralism.
    • Strategic Significance of New Quadrilateral Economic Forum will gradually be visible in India’s foreign capital.

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New Quadrilateral Economic Forum- Securing India’s Interests

  • Participation in Quad: India is a member of the Quad with the U.S., Australia and Japan, which have common concerns and shared interests in East Asia.
  • Relations with Israel: Israel is one of India’s top defence suppliers.
  • Importance of UAE: The UAE is vital for India’s energy security and also hosts millions of Indian workers.

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New Quadrilateral Economic Forum- India’s West Asia Policy

  • In the past, there were three pillars to India’s West Asia policy- the Sunni Gulf monarchies, Israel and Iran.
  • Opportunities after Abraham Accord: with the normalization agreements signed between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain under the tutelage of the Trump administration, India faces fewer challenges to a regionalist approach.
  • Associated challenges;
    • While the Abraham Accords made it easier for India to find common ground with the Israelis and the Emiratis, the contradiction between this emerging bloc and Iran remains as intense as ever.
    • India faces deepening insecurities in continental Asia after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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New Quadrilateral Economic Forum- Way forward

  • Deepening India’s Engagement: India should enhance its engagement in the West Asian region in areas like trade, energy ties, fighting climate change, and maritime security.
  • India should avoid becoming a party in the conflicts of West Asia: India should be careful not to get sucked into the many conflicts of West Asia that could intensify amid growing regional rivalries.
  • India should work closely with countries such as Iran to deal with the challenges emanating from a post-American Afghanistan.

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New Quadrilateral Economic Forum- Conclusion

  • India must retain a healthy relationship with Iran even as it seeks to build a stronger regional partnership with the U.S.-Israel-UAE bloc.


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