With rapidly shifting geopolitical equations in the region, the foreign ministers of India, Israel, the US and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have launched a four-way international forum for enhancing economic and security cooperation, which is being hailed as a new Quad for the Middle East.
The first meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries on October 19 culminated in the decision to launch enhanced cooperation in joint infrastructure projects in transportation and technology as well as in big data.
This new Quad will also focus on enhancing political and diplomatic cooperation in the Middle East and Asia.
The meeting was attended by India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid from Jerusalem. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken from Washington and UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan from Abu Dhabi joined in virtually.
Mr Jaishankar termed the discussions as “fruitful” and emphasised joint resolve to promote a speedy follow- of decisions taken. “Discussed working together more closely on economic growth and global issues. Agreed on expeditious follow-up,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted.
In his comments shared on tweet, Mr Blinken said the meeting had focused on “shared issues of concern in the region and globally, and the importance of expanding our economic and political collaboration”.
Mr Lapid underscored synergies among the four countries to create a mutually empowering network. “Around this virtual table, there is a unique set of capabilities, knowledge, and experience that can be used to create the network that we all want to see created.” The synergy between the four countries will help them work together on infrastructure, transport, maritime security and other issues, he said.
The Israeli foreign minister underscored that the key to success is moving from a “government-to-government” approach to a “business-to-business” approach and turning the initiative into a “working process that will put boots on the ground, changing infrastructure around the world.”
The “new Quad” envisages a bigger role for India in the politically fraught West Asia, home to over eight million-strong Indian diaspora.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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