Mon, 27 Jun 2022

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): US President Joe Biden will convene the maiden Virtual Summit with Prime Ministers of India, Israel and the President of UAE during his upcoming visit next month to the Middle East.

The proposed virtual summit of India, Israel, UAE, and the USA dubbed "I2U2" is being projected as the Quad for West Asia.

According to the White House, the meeting of I2U2 was a part of the Biden administration's effort to revitalize American alliances across the world. I2U2 leaders would discuss the food security crisis in the wake of the Ukraine war and other areas of cooperation.

The I2U2 alliance marks important geopolitical trends.

Firstly, the Biden administration has departed from Donald Trump's partisan approach in the Middle East. While Trump tried to divide the regional powers by explicitly recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without paying any heed to Palestine's claim over the Holy City, Biden's approach is more inclusive.

President Biden on his first trip to the Middle East would visit Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia indicating US's desire to maintain an integrative diplomatic stance in the region.

White House officials noted that the visit will also focus on Israel's increasing integration to the region, both by the Abraham Accords with UAE, Morocco, and Bahrain; through deepening ties between Israel, Jordan and Egypt; and with the I2U2.

Secondly, the US is now embracing India as a more reliable strategic and development partner than ever before in the Indo-Pacific region as well as West Asia.

The US State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price viewed, "India is a massive consumer market, and producer of high-techhighly sought-after goods as well. So, there are a number of areas where these countries can work together, whether it's technology, trade, climate, Covid-19, and potentially even security as well."While emphasizing the need for and importance of I2U2, he clarified, "part of our approach from the start is not only to revitalize and re-energize our system of alliances and partnerships around the world, but also to stick together partnerships around the world that did not exist previously or were not utilized to their full extent."India is a natural choice for the US as a partner in its objective of revitalizing its alliances in the West Asian region because it enjoys friendly relations with the regional countries, including an added advantage of deep cultural, historical linkages and vibrant economic ties. While India is a major buyer of energy from the region, it is a major supplier of many consumer goods and human resources to the Middle Eastern region.

The I2U2 grouping has not emerged all of a sudden. It is a formalization of a deep interest of the countries involved in the alliance to enhance cooperation to the next level. The India-Israel-UAE-US grouping met for the first time under a new framework in October 2021. Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited Israel for the purpose where he met foreign ministers of the other three countries.

The grouping was then known as the "International Forum for Economic Cooperation".

During this meeting, issues ranging from maritime security, infrastructure and digital infrastructure to transport were discussed. The formation of the West Asian version of Quad or quartet is seen as one of the key dividends of the Abraham accords that saw the normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE.

Biden is slated to visit Israel first, where he is scheduled to meet with Israeli leaders to discuss the country's security and increasing integration in the region. He will also visit the West Bank to consult with the Palestinian Authority signaling his strong support for a two-state solution, with equal measures of security, freedom, and opportunity for the Palestinian people.

The US President would subsequently travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to attend a Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan (GCC3). A new geopolitical order led by the US is being seen as an endeavour to cobble a more integrated world order with prospects of mutual coexistence and prosperity.

India is being co-opted as one of the most important partners by the US in this grand agenda. (ANI)

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