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Indian Express

18-November-2023

1) A stake in stability

Context:

  • Given that West Asia is an important energy supplier, trading partner, and strategic ally, peace in the region continues to be India’s top goal.
  • Now in its sixth week, the Israel-Hamas conflict raises questions about possible spread and destabilization throughout the larger West Asian region.

India-US 2+2 Dialogue:

  • The joint declaration from the recent India-US 2+2 conference emphasized both nations’ support for Israel in the fight against Hamas terrorism.
  • It simultaneously underlined the necessity of abiding by international humanitarian law in order to stop the conflict from getting worse, preserve stability, and seek a diplomatic settlement and long-lasting peace in the Middle East.

Historical Context of India-West Asia Relations:

  • Since the post-Independence era, India has maintained strong ties with West Asian nations, mostly thanks to the encouragement of influential figures such as Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt.
  • Nonetheless, Pakistan’s sway and possible complicity in terrorism financing in India posed difficulties for closeness.

Transformation in the Last Decade:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a concerted effort to strengthen relations with West Asian countries during the last ten years.
  • The transition was facilitated by Modi’s personal connections with leaders such as Mohammed bin Salman (Saudi Arabia) and Mohammed bin Zayed (UAE).
  • India’s “Bharat ki baat, sabke saath” (engagement with all) strategy worked well in resolving internal rivalries and disputes in the region.

De-hyphenation in Foreign Policy:

  • Modi’s foreign policy came to be known for its dehyphenation, which gave India strategic independence.
  • Individual trips to Israel and Palestine demonstrated India’s dedication to interacting with every country.
  • India’s most important trading partner now is the region, with substantial collaboration in strategic and counterterrorism endeavors.

Successes in West Asia and International Forums:

  • India’s importance was highlighted by its performance at the 2019 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit, where the UAE invited the Indian foreign minister as the Guest of Honour.
  • A favorable change was noted when the Abu Dhabi Document, which was released during the summit, for the first time left out the Kashmir issue.

India’s View on Israel–Palestine Conflict:

  • India sees the Israel–Palestine conflict as a means of advancing stability and peace throughout West Asia.
  • India is in favor of a two-state solution and sees a viable, autonomous Palestine coexisting peacefully with Israel.
  • This solution was the goal of the historic Oslo Accords and the talks that followed, but obstacles and disputes have slowed down the process.

Current Commitment to the Two-State Solution:

  • As Israel concentrates on opposing Hamas in Gaza, India is steadfast in its support of the two-state solution as a long-term framework for peace in West Asia.
  • In line with the rest of the international community, India maintains the two-state solution and zero tolerance for terrorism in the face of obstacles.

Conclusion

  • India’s commitment to regional peace, stability, and diplomatic autonomy is reflected in its strategic engagement in West Asia.
  • In the complicated geopolitical context of West Asia, India continues to play a critical role in promoting communication and collaboration by navigating disputes and grasping opportunities.

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