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India must stay agile, always prepared to respond to increasing security concerns in the Middle East. However, this adaptability should not result in rash foreign policy adjustments or inconsistencies with long-term goals. The calibrated shift must take into account the growth of many regional powers, each backed by a network of supporters from within and outside the area. The growing multipolar situation, with more than one global or regional power calling the shots and occasionally punching above its weight, will not be without its own set of quirks and unknowns.

With Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel emerging as new regional powers, the Western bloc, currently led by the United States, will have to reconsider its allies and opponents. This re-evaluation will demand the recognition of both formal and informal entities, including armed local groups in Western Asian countries. For a while, the West, notably the United States, may grapple with the realisation that it no longer wields unrivalled military and economic might in the Middle East. Other key actors with whom India’s connections may be strengthened include Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Oman, as well as Egypt and the Palestinian National Authority. Each of these countries, individually and along with its neighbours,

This article discusses India’s relationship with each of these eight countries, beginning with Israel, the Palestinian National Authority, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, with the rest to follow. The influence of duality in India’s strategy, namely developing ties with both the Arab world and Israel, will be discussed in both parts of this research. It is also necessary to investigate vital concerns for India, such as energy security, the vast Indian diaspora in West Asia, the significant remittances they send back to their families in India, and the growing importance of Indian business interests in particular Middle Eastern countries.

Following a tense relationship in the early years after its establishment in 1948, with India fully supporting Arab states and Palestinians, Prime Minister Narasimha Rao took the momentous step of formally establishing diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992. Since then, India has become more open to Israel in both economic and security considerations. Today, it is India’s second-largest provider of armaments and technology, and their relationship is marked by camaraderie. This may have affected India’s initial posture of supporting with Israel in the early days of the ongoing conflict, after Hamas fired hundreds of missiles from Gaza and kidnapped 250 Israeli people.

Finding the following Israeli reprisal unnecessarily severe, and with the international community, including its Western friends, advocating for moderation in strikes on civilian settlements, India has taken a more nuanced and balanced approach to its assistance. Since then, while condemning Hamas for its indiscriminate initial attacks on Israeli territory, India has reaffirmed its historical support for the two-state solution in Palestine and supported UN and other efforts to achieve both an interim and long-term ceasefire, with the goal of bringing the warring sides to the negotiating table. India has also escalated its naval operations against the Houthis and those involved in piracy, but has not joined the American and British military efforts in the Red Sea. This planned response must remain the hallmark.

Israel is a significant provider of advanced military gear and systems to India, as well as an essential source of aid in agricultural technology, medical start-ups, and real estate investment. Indian IT companies see Israel’s high-tech economy and innovative culture as promising investment opportunities. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in July 2017, agreements were reached to strengthen partnership in research, agriculture, and defence, as well as to establish a $40 million technology innovation fund. There is currently widespread collaboration in counter-terrorism, intelligence sharing, homeland security, and cyber security. This occurs at a time when Israel maintains tight commercial and defence ties with China, which, according to Netanyahu, is only interested in its technology. Fortunately, in the generally advantageous environment

Without a doubt, Russia has become India’s preferred supplier of crude oil. Nonetheless, India’s reliance on the Middle East for its vast and expanding hydrocarbon needs is projected to remain significant in the coming decades. The shift of the Indian energy sector to renewables and electric mobility is expected to occur gradually. Much of India’s crude refining infrastructure has been geared towards processing crude oil that fulfils Arabian requirements. Logistically, there is a definite advantage in terms of distance and proximity, particularly for refineries along India’s west coast.

There are 9.5 million Indian workers in the Gulf, and their annual remittances contribute significantly to India’s foreign exchange reserves and the value of the Indian rupee. Foreign Direct

Since Prime Minister Nehru’s time, India has provided unwavering support to Palestine, a stance that has become an article of religion in the country. This strong confirmation had really stopped India from establishing normal ties with Israel until 1992, when India opened diplomatic relations with Israel. Until then, the Palestinian question had been fundamental to India’s Middle Eastern foreign policy and, to a lesser extent, its relationship with the US. However, the rapprochement between Israel and Egypt in 1979, with Jordan in 1994, and, later, in 2020, the signing of formal normalisation agreements with Gulf Arab states—UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco (also known as the Abraham Accords)—under President Trump’s initiative has reduced the importance of Palestine in India’s external affairs. The suspension

Nonetheless, Palestinian leaders voiced unhappiness with the Arab states’ recognitions. Its Foreign Minister, Riad Maliki, branded it a violation of the 2002 Saudi Arab Peace Initiative, which stipulated two requirements for such normalisation: a complete Israeli departure to pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Arab League’s inability to address the acts of the UAE and other member states prompted Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Fatah in the occupied West Bank to cooperate in resuming Palestinian unity talks.

The Palestinian Authority looks to India for continued and unwavering support for the two-nation theory. India will do well to maintain its current approach. It’s public.

Saudi Arabia has become India’s fourth-largest commercial partner, with $28 billion in bilateral commerce, the majority of which is imported crude oil. Since the establishment of a formal structure for defence cooperation in 2014, both nations have shared intelligence and counterterrorism activities (targeting terrorists in Pakistan and radical Sunni groups in Syria that constitute a threat to Saudi Arabia). In 2019, they inked another agreement for the procurement and joint production of military equipment, as well as joint air and naval exercises. Following the Covid-19 epidemic years, following actions were implemented.

The Saudis expect India to distance itself from Iran due to its ideological stance and rising military power, particularly its nuclear weapons. Given its long history and close ties with Iran, India has hitherto found it difficult to accept this. However, this position may soon have to be reassessed. As if anticipating it, the Saudis have shifted their stance; they no longer explicitly support Pakistan and did not criticise India in 2019 when it revoked Kashmir’s limited autonomy and enacted a new citizenship law that allegedly discriminated against Muslims and sparked controversy. Saudi Arabia’s friendly gestures have helped India’s

Following the 1979 revolution, which saw the overthrow of the Shah and the rise of orthodox Shia religious leadership, Iran has endured decades of Western economic and military sanctions, as well as increased isolation from its neighbours. In fact, by skillfully challenging the international order and forging unusual partnerships, it could have prospered. Iran makes no secret of its everlasting struggle with the “satanic” United States. A great degree of pragmatism in furthering its own interests has allowed it to achieve some level of well-being without jeopardising its ideological goals. This is also evident in its relationship with India, which it sees as increasingly sliding towards Westernisation.

India and Iran have long had diplomatic links, as well as personal connections. The Parsis moved from Iran, and some Indian businesses have roots there. However, because of the “US factor,” the connection has not fully developed. In 2019, US sanctions forced India to suspend its petroleum imports from Iran. Nonetheless, Iran has permitted Indian commodities to flow through Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Gulf. Allowing India to develop the Chabahar Port, whose initial terminal opened in December 2017 and is located near the Pakistani border, would further benefit Indian interests, in addition to potentially resuming Iranian oil imports. After being spared from US sanctions, India is building a $1.6 billion train line from Chabahar to Zahedan in the north.

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