The Abraham Accords and the I2U2

Abstract: The Abraham Accords and the recently formed I2U2 have heralded the beginning of new geopolitical realignments in the Middle East or West Asia region. Many have seen the I2U2 as a ‘Middle Eastern QUAD’ brought together by the concerns of a possible nuclear-armed Iran as well as the increasing presence of China However, given the fact that members such as Israel, UAE share ties with China and India’s strategic need for stronger relations with Iran in the context of current- day Afghanistan, the evolution of I2U2 as a ‘West Asian QUAD’ or an ‘Arab NATO’ seem quite unlikely in the time being. This also comes when Washington’s allies like Saudi Arabia have begun doubting the US commitment to the region, given its decision to redeploy its Gulf forces to the Asia Pacific and its hasty retreat from Afghanistan in 2021.


Problem Statement: Could the I2U2 evolve into a ‘Middle Eastern QUAD’ given the internal dynamics faced by its members other than the US?


Bottom-line-up-front: Given the relations shared by other members with China and Iran and the increasing skepticism regarding US commitment to the region, the I2U2 couldn’t emerge as a QUAD or NATO-like group in the near term. Moreover, the domestic opposition to the normalization of ties with Israel among the Gulf countries and given the opposition to the concessions to be made on the West Bank by Tel Aviv, the Accords face considerable strain, which might undermine the basis of the I2U2.


So what?: It would be better for I2U2 to focus on non-military issues like health, food security, cyberspace, and climate change to decrease speculations of it emerging as a security alliance against any country on the surface. Such non- military appearance wouldn’t force member countries to choose between the US and their partnerships with China or Iran. At the same time, intensification of the cooperative relationships among the members would increase the latter’s stakes in maintaining the grouping. Meanwhile, the exposure of domestic audiences to the economic and other benefits of the partnerships between Israel and the Gulf states would facilitate the gradual minimization of opposition to the Abraham Accords.


The Abraham Accords and the I2U2
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Chess Figures with the Flags of UAE, USA, Israel and India
Source: shutterstock.com/sameer madhukar chogale

The End of Political and Diplomatic Isolation


The Abraham Accords signed on 13 August 2020 between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, later joined by Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, have set the stage for new geopolitical realignments and their resultant repercussions in the region of the Middle East. The Accords basically signified the end of Israel's political and diplomatic isolation from the Gulf region as the latter countries, such as UAE and Bahrain, have sought to cultivate diplomatic and economic relationships and normalize ties with their long-time foe[1]. This event has also led to the creation of new geopolitical and geoeconomic arcs or mini-lateral organizations such as the I2U2 (India, Israel, US, and UAE), which was announced on 14 July 2022, preceding a summit-level meeting of the foreign ministers of all the four member countries in October 2021[2]. The new grouping, as per the leaders of the member countries, is more focused on economic and technological areas of cooperation in the fields of water, food security, health, transportation, and space.[3] However, many observers have dubbed it a ‘Middle Eastern QUAD’, or the coming together of countries joined by strategic concerns, such as a common threat as in the case of the QUAD in the Indo- Pacific. Yet, others opine that West Asia's regional differences and complications from the Indo- Pacific do not allow the creation or formation of a grouping similar to the QUAD[4].


The Accords basically signified the end of Israel's political and diplomatic isolation from the Gulf region as the latter countries, such as UAE and Bahrain, have sought to cultivate diplomatic and economic relationships and normalize ties with their long-time foe.

The Abraham Accord


The Accords, named after Abraham, the patriarch of the three major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, was seen as heralding a new era where the realist considerations of the shared threat posed by an increasingly assertive Iran trumped the idealist demands and views regarding the Palestine issue as well as notions of Pan- Arabist solidarity[5]. As per the Accords, this tension and contradiction between the Arab and Jewish pre-conceptions of each other were sought to be remedied by encouraging ‘efforts to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue to advance a culture of peace among the three Abrahamic religions and all humanity’[6]. In addition, the Accords seek to reduce tensions by focusing on possible areas of cooperation such as ‘science, art, medicine and commerce to inspire humankind, maximize human potential and bring nations closer together’[7]. This focus of the Abrahamic Accords on economic and technological cooperation is also driven by the need of the Gulf countries to benefit from Israel's technological and scientific advancements. At the same time, Tel Aviv sees investment opportunities in Gulf countries such as the UAE[8]. Hence, the Abraham Accords can be said to have been driven not only by geopolitical concerns about the Iranian threat but also by geoeconomic motives of utilizing the advantages offered by either side to boost their own economies and defenses, especially in the case of the UAE.


The above instrumental logic of the Abraham Accords led to the formation of the I2U2 or ‘India, Israel, US and UAE’ on 14 July 2022. The commitment of all four founding member countries towards dealing with non-traditional and transnational issues such as international economic stability, climate change, volatile energy, and food security[9] led to the decision to set up ‘integrated food parks’ in India, which would bring together the human capital and agricultural capacity of India and the technological and scientific advancements of the US and Israel as well as UAE investments to ‘tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East’[10]. At this point, one should note the inclusion of India as a non-West Asian or non- Abrahamic country in the grouping dubbed by many as the ‘West Asian QUAD’. This can be interpreted as the realization of the growing importance of India as a key player in the Middle Eastern region – a desire that Delhi has long nurtured especially concerning the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) between Israel and the Arab states[11]. At the same time, the I2U2 also provides India with an opportunity to play a significant role in the region, which is crucial for India in terms of energy security and supplies, religious affinity as well as the presence of a large Indian expatriate community in the region which forms a large source of remittance to the home country[12].


One should note the inclusion of India as a non-West Asian or non- Abrahamic country in the grouping dubbed by many as the ‘West Asian QUAD’.

Current events with global repercussions have also played an important role in bringing together the countries of the I2U2, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resultant food crisis, which has led to the focus on food security, as seen in the announcement of the ‘integrated food parks’[13]. The US especially highlighted the focus on non-military areas of collaboration to quell speculations about the grouping being a ‘proxy’ through which to counter Iran and an increasingly present China in West Asia. This can be seen in the statements of US National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan, who said that the I2U2 ‘fulfils the President’s (Joe Biden) vision of a more integrated, more globally engaged Middle East across the board that isn’t just focused on issues that have been on top of mind for American foreign policymakers over the last 20 years− terrorism and wars’[14]. Yet, many scholars and observers claim the grouping, given Sullivan’s son of I2U2 with the Indo- Pacific QUADand the Abraham Accords, to be driven by security and strategic aims in addition to economic and other cooperation.

A Middle Eastern QUAD?


Despite the emphasis on the apparent ‘non-military’ nature of the I2U2, several sceptics have emerged who refuse to accept the claim and instead see it as a grouping driven primarily by geopolitical interests to counter an assertive Iran and an expanding Chinese presence in the Middle East. This attitude is apparent, especially from Pakistani scholars, who view the Abraham Accords and minilaterals like the I2U2 along with QUAD as the formation of an Arab- Israeli- India- US nexus to counter the coalition of ‘anti-hegemonic’ and ‘de-colonized’ countries of Pakistan, China, Russia, and Iran. They wish to challenge the current US hegemony or ‘colonization’ to make the world order more ‘open’ and ‘plural’[15]. The Abraham Accords, as per Syed and Ahmed, are part of the Obama Administration’s 2011 ‘Pivot to Asia’ strategy, which outlined the US aim to counter China and the shift of focus from the ‘Middle East’ to ‘Asia Pacific’ or now the ‘Indo Pacific’[16]. Hence, in the backdrop of the diversion of US military assets and primary attention from West Asia to the Indo- Pacific and being faced with an increasingly assertive Iran, Washington sought a ‘regent’ or a reliable partner which would continue to maintain the US-imposed status quo of the region. In the view of Syed and Ahmed, the obvious choice was Israel, US’s strongest ally in the region since its establishment in 1948. Hence, the normalization of the ties with Israel by the Gulf Arab states would allow the inclusion of Tel Aviv into the US Central Command (CENTCOM) based in the Middle East, which included states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE – traditional allies of the US. In addition, the acceptance of Israel into the CENTCOM was also spurred by the threats of a nuclear-armed Iran among the Gulf states who believed that Tel Aviv had the technological, military, and nuclear capabilities to counter a nuclear-armed Tehran[17]. Hence, the inclusion of Israel into the CENTCOM meant the maintenance of US interests in the region as Washington focused on China in the Indo- Pacific with Tel Aviv taking charge of the Middle East in the absence of its ally.


In the backdrop of the diversion of US military assets and primary attention from West Asia to the Indo- Pacific and being faced with an increasingly assertive Iran, Washington sought a ‘regent’ or a reliable partner which would continue to maintain the US-imposed status quo of the region.

The propping of Israel in West Asia and India in the Indo- Pacific, as per Syed and Ahmed, was in line with the advice given by former US National Security Advisor (NSA) Zbigniew Brzezinski. He said that in view of the decline of ‘America’s unprecedented power’ in the future, the US must focus on managing the ‘rise of other regional powers in ways that do not threaten America’s global primacy’. This, as per Brzezinski, was to be achieved through the ‘emergence of increasingly important but strategically compatible partners who, prompted by American leadership, might help to shape a more cooperative trans- Eurasian security system’[18]. In line with that, Israel formed the lynchpin of US power in the Middle East, which would play a leading role in the ‘trans- Eurasian’ security system like I2U2 in countering ‘regional powers’ like Iran and China.


While the views of Syed and Ahmed could be discarded as unreasonable phobia and biased views stemming from Pakistani think tanks, the increasing China–Iran nexus can be seen as a viable factor compelling the formation of the I2U2 as a ‘Middle Eastern Quad’. Given the withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran nuclear deal by the 2017 Trump Administration, as well as the application of the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Tehran to force the latter to agree to the US’s demand of stopping its enrichment program without any strings attached through harsh sanctions, Iran has welcomed China as a major partner and ally in the West Asian region. Both Beijing and Tehran have agreed to a 25-year security and economic cooperation partnership with Chinese investment worth 400 billion USD in Iranian sectors such as finance, energy, and infrastructure development as well as military. In addition, the Iranian nuclear program had developed with aid from China in the initial stages for both civilian, and future military uses[19]. Along with the US’s antagonism, another major factor is the threat of Israeli pre-emptive attacks and sabotaging efforts on Iranian nuclear sites through methods such as the assassination of top nuclear scientists and infiltration of Mossad-linked groups and networks in Iran via Iraq[20]. Hence, Chinese military and technological aid are seen as boosting Iranian deterrence capability against Israeli-sponsored hostile actions. For China, while a strong relationship with Iran provides a steady oil supply, the 25-year agreement also implies the inclusion of Iran into the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) interconnectivity and infrastructure development project[21]. The role of Iran is important in the ‘Middle Corridor’ of the BRI, which envisages the China- Kyrgyzstan- Uzbekistan (CKU) railway to reach to Europe via Iran and Turkey with a total length of 523 km[22]. At the same time, the plans to expand the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Iran would also allow Beijing to overcome the ‘Malacca Dilemma’ of the blocking of maritime energy supplies by the possible US-India naval in the Straits of Malacca in the Indian Ocean by instead bringing in oil imports from Iran as well as the Gwadar port via the overland CPEC to Xinjiang[23]. This growing ‘strategic embrace’ between Beijing and Tehran, as well as the latter’s joining of the BRI, is being increasingly viewed with alarm by the US, as well as countries like Israel and India, which would justify the formation of the I2U2 in the manner of a ‘West Asian QUAD’.


For China, while a strong relationship with Iran provides a steady oil supply, the 25-year agreement also implies the inclusion of Iran into the China-led Belt and Road Initiative interconnectivity and infrastructure development project.

The recent outreach by the Biden administration to Saudi Arabia, especially President Joe Biden’s visit and participation in the Jeddah Security and Development in Jeddah on 16 July 2022, can be seen in the light of the shifting geopolitical alignments brought about by the Abraham Accords and the I2U2. The ‘U- turn’ as per Stanly Johnly, in Biden’s earlier promises to hold Saudi Arabia, especially Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman accountable for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi can only be explained in the new importance of Saudi Arabia in the background of the Abraham Accords. After the normalization of ties by UAE and Bahrain, two key allies of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh’s outreach and establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel would strengthen the Accords, given the status of Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Gulf countries. The threat of a nuclear Iran is also hoped to push Riyadh to join the Accords and be a part of the I2U2[24]. The increasing China factor in the US consideration of its strategy in the Middle East can also be viewed in Washington’s alarm over increasing Sino-Israeli ties during the tenure of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including the acquisition of a section of the Haifa port by the Shanghai International Port Group in 2015. The Chinese-acquired section lay adjacent to an Israeli base used by the US 6th fleet to station its nuclear weapons submarines. Hence, to counter the threat posed to its strategic assets, the US has sought to cooperate with the Dubai-based DP World and the Israel Shipyard Industries (a part of the Israeli military-industrial complex) in developing a section of the Haifa port into a ‘US-friendly harbor’ adjacent to the China-owned section[25].


Hence, as per Manjari Singh, although I2U2 is an initiative with a geoeconomic orientation, the intensifying economic and other ties between the partner countries are aimed at increasing the stakes of each member-state in maintaining the minilateral grouping[26]. The grouping seeks to bring together the potential and economic strengths of each member state – India’s human capital and vast market, Israeli and US technological and scientific breakthroughs, and the investment potential as well as energy security offered by Gulf countries. This example of the integrated food parks is aimed at helping especially the Gulf countries to help them achieve food security. In contrast, the deepening of relations with Gulf countries would benefit India in securing its energy supplies and acquiring defense technologies from Israel and the US[27]. At the same time, the I2U2 would also give a fillip to the already-existing relations and partnerships between the member states, such as the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)[28] between India and UAE, as well as the increasing defense exports relationships such as Bahrain’s acquisition of Israeli drones to counter Iran. Israel hopes to utilize the newfound access to Dubai to use the latter’s financial centers to market its technology-driven offerings[29]. Hence, as per Manjari, the US aims to increase the inter-connectivity and interdependence among the member-states through platforms such as the I2U2 as well as bring them closer to the US to counter the Chinese outreach and deepening relations with these countries, especially the UAE and Israel. This would amount to Washington’s application of the Chinese strategy of winning without fighting strategy or, in other words, countering Beijing’s increasing footprint by drawing countries away from its sphere of influence[30].


The grouping seeks to bring together the potential and economic strengths of each member state – India’s human capital and vast market, Israeli and US technological and scientific breakthroughs, and the investment potential as well as energy security offered by Gulf countries.

However, the formation of the IU2 as a ‘West Asian QUAD’ runs into a roadblock if one considers the member states' inhibitions given their diverse and varying levels of partnerships with other countries as well as the declining capacity and interest of the US in the region. One important factor which raises questions regarding the ‘military alliance’ aspect of I2U2 is the apparent decline in US interest in the West Asian region. This was seen in the US decision to remove its strategic assets such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot missile batteries from its bases in Saudi Arabia in 2021[31]. The decision was prompted as the latter was being faced with drone attacks claimed by the Houthi rebels from Yemen but tacitly carried out with Iranian support[32]. While the removal has been justified in terms of ‘re-deployment’ to its home region as well as the Asia Pacific to counter an increasingly belligerent China, this decision coming on the heels of Washington’s chaotic withdrawal from Kabul has been interpreted as a sign of US’s decline and loss of interest in the region[33]. This has increased the apprehensions among its allies like Saudi Arabia about Washington’s commitment to their security which has pushed Riyadh to seek increasing ties with China, such as in Beijing’s support for the construction of the largest oil-fired power station by the Shandong Electric Power Corporation (SEPCO) as well as other infrastructure projects. In addition, Riyadh entered into thirty-five bilateral agreements with China during the Saudi Chinese-Investment Forum. With Saudi Arabia being China’s largest oil supplier[34], Beijing will seek to cement further ties and prevent any attempt by the US to cut its influence and footprint in the Gulf.


Along with Saudi Arabia, the I2U2 member states of both the UAE and Israel have long enjoyed strong bilateral relationships with China. In the case of the UAE, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Chinese firm BGI collaborated with Abu Dhabi to open a COVID vaccine development and testing lab, and the first vaccines were put to use in the UAE were the ones manufactured by Beijing. In addition, China also exported PPE kits to Abu Dhabi in the face of an American blockade of exports[35]. Israel had already entered into an ‘innovative comprehensive partnership’ with China in 2017, which envisages cooperation in areas such as clean energy, agriculture, investment, finance, and medical services through the exchange of technological personnel, setting up joint labs, and a global technology transfer center as well as innovation parks[36]. The Sino-Israeli cooperation was also seen in Beijing's acquisition of a section of Haifa port, which threatened US strategic interests. In the case of India, while New Delhi has been attempting to ‘de-coupling’ from China since the Galwan clashes in 2020 and the continuing Himalayan stand-off, India’s ties with Iran prevent the former from joining the anti-Tehran arc of the other I2U2 members. With the world’s fourth largest oil reserve and second-largest natural gas reserve, Iran is an important energy partner of India, along with the Gulf and Russia.[37] Hence, despite the US’s attempts at isolating Iran, India did not join Washington’s efforts and maintained contacts and diplomatic relations with Tehran. Moreover, Iran also provides India with an alternative route to Central Asia through initiatives such as the International North-South Transportation Corridor agreement between India, Iran, and Russia in 2000 and the agreement on International Transit of Goods in 1997 between India, Iran, and Turkmenistan, which allows New Delhi to cultivate ties with Iran and the Central Asian Republics bypassing Pakistan[38]. In addition, against the backdrop of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iran has become an important ally for India as both New Delhi and Tehran have shared an interest in seeking to contain the chaos in the region to prevent Afghan-based terrorism from threatening security and stability of both countries[39]. Besides, India also has a vital interest in the development of the Chabahar Port along the Iranian coast, which would not only allow New Delhi to ship goods from the port via land routes to Afghanistan and Central Asia but also provide a strategic location from which to monitor the Gwadar port in Pakistan and CPEC[40]. Hence, given the linkages and dependence of the member countries on China and Iran, the emergence of the I2U2 as an ‘Arab NATO’ or a ‘Middle Eastern QUAD’ seems unlikely.


Israel had already entered into an ‘innovative comprehensive partnership’ with China in 2017, which envisages cooperation in areas such as clean energy, agriculture, investment, finance, and medical services through the exchange of technological personnel, setting up joint labs, and a global technology transfer center as well as innovation parks.

Finally, the challenge to the I2U2 comes from the Abraham Accords itself. Despite the Accords being hailed as a major breakthrough in the decades-long hostility between Israel and the Arab world, it must be kept in mind that the ‘normalization’ of ties has happened only at the level of the government and heads of the states. The populations of Israel and the Arab countries still harbor stereotypes and mistrust about each other formed as a result of divides which can be traced back to history as well as in the verses of holy texts such as the Quran. This is especially apparent in the case of Bahrain, whose population still resents the normalization of ties with Israel by the monarchical government as a betrayal of the Palestinians[41]. It is the same concern of popular sentiments which has hindered Saudi Arabia from entering the Accords, given that only 30 percent of the Saudi population supports the normalization of ties with Tel Aviv[42]. At the same time, despite the threat of a nuclear Iran providing the logic behind the Accords, many Gulf states like Saudi Arabia have started back-channel talks with Iran mediated by Iraq to reach an understanding between the two rival blocs of power in West Asia.


Moreover, some Gulf thinkers in the UAE were advocating the development of a ‘Gulf nuclear weapon’ with help from Pakistan during the visit of PM Shehbaz Sharif in May 2022[43] in the face of weakening US commitment in the region as well as the presence of the Iranian nuclear threat. Hence, in both cases of reaching an understanding with Iran or the development of Gulf nuclear capacities, the Arab signatories of the Abraham Accords might be tempted to resume their earlier position due to the absence of the earlier logic of Iran as well as catering to populist sentiments in their domestic spheres. On the side of Israel, critics have pointed to the assurances given to UAE as part of the Accord by Israel about the latter’s denouncement of claims over Gaza and the West Bank and the creation of a Palestinian State. Such a proposal would lead to massive uprisings against the Israeli government over the fates of the 100,000 Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Besides, the carving out of a Palestinian state would lead to the cramping of an already-constrained geographical area as well as go against the tenets upon which the state of Israel was founded as the reclamation of the ancient Jewish homeland[44]. Critics also point to the pervasiveness of the historical and religious mistrust of the Jews in the Islamic religious outlook, which would not disappear overnight because of the Accords and would continue to loom large over Israel’s relations with Arab states. Without popular backing from the populations of their respective countries, despite the overarching presence of the US, the states of UAE, Bahrain, and Israel would not be able to move forward in the establishment of robust military ties and the transformation of the I2U2 into an alliance against Iran and China.


Some Gulf thinkers in the UAE were advocating the development of a ‘Gulf nuclear weapon’ with help from Pakistan during the visit of PM Shehbaz Sharif in May 2022 in the face of weakening US commitment in the region as well as the presence of the Iranian nuclear threat.

Addressing Shared Concerns


It would be too early to say whether the grouping could be compared to the Indo-Pacific QUAD of the US, India, Japan, and Australia brought together by the threat of Chinese extra-territoriality in the maritime domain. However, at this point, it is pertinent to recall Singh’s view of the I2U2 as the US attempt to counter China by adapting its ‘winning without fighting’ strategy. To that end, Singh also notes that the ‘cost-benefit approach dictates that such an arrangement (the I2U2) is far more desirable and result-oriented[45]. In other words, for the time being, it would be feasible for the grouping to maintain its character as a platform focused on addressing shared concerns of food and energy security and non-military areas of cooperation. This would benefit the member states not only in having access to the opportunities provided by each state but also in preventing any detrimental consequences to their relationships with China and Iran.


For the time being, it would be feasible for the grouping to maintain its character as a platform focused on addressing shared concerns of food and energy security and non-military areas of cooperation.

While the ‘cost’ of a dissatisfied domestic population might not fade away anytime, the new economic and other opportunities and investments between Israel and the Gulf states might smooth down dominant attitudes. In the case of India, its participation in both QUAD and I2U2 indicates its increasing importance in the eyes of US. This fact is of strategic value in the face of a belligerent and aggressive China. Finally, strengthening the bonds between the member states and accepting the Abraham Accords by the populaces of West Asia over time would allow for the emergence of the I2U2 as a considerable regional power in the Middle East.


 

Anuraag Khaund is pursuing an MA in Politics and International Relations (PIR) from the Central University of Gujarat (CUG). He has published opinion pieces in the Eleventh Column, Deccan Herald, and the Kashmir Observer. His interests include History, International Relations, East Asia, and the Middle East. The views contained in this article are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of CUG.

 

[1] Shabana Syed and Zainab Ahmed, “Abraham Accords, Indo- Pacific Accord and the US- Led Nexus of Curtailment: Threat to Regional Security, and Joint Counter Strategy,” Policy Perspectives, vol. 18, no. 1, 2021, 25-52, 26.

[2] Kabir Taneja, “The I2U2 summit: Geoeconomic cooperation in a geopolitically complicated West Asia,” Observer Research Foundation, 14 July 2022.

[3] Taneja, “The I2U2 summit: Geoeconomic cooperation in a geopolitically complicated West Asia”.

[4] PR Kumaraswamy, “How Middle Eastern Quad can be a Challenge for India,” News 18, 28 June 2022.

[5] “The Abraham Accords,” Stand With Us, 18 August 2020.

[6] “The Abraham Accords,” US Department of State, 13 August 2020.

[7] Idem.

[8] Taneja, “The I2U2 summit: Geoeconomic cooperation in a geopolitically complicated West Asia”.

[9] Taneja, “The I2U2 summit: Geoeconomic cooperation in a geopolitically complicated West Asia”.

[10] “India to give land for I2U2- backed food parks,” The Hindu, 14 July 2022.

[11] Rajendra Abhyankar & Azadeh Pourzand, Protests and Possibilities - West Asia and India, Mumbai: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, 2013, 35.

[12] Abhyankar & Pourzand, Protests and Possibilities - West Asia and India, 32-34.

[13] “India to give land for I2U2- backed food parks”.

[14] “Like Quad, I2U2 can become a central feature of Middle East: NSA Sullivan,” Hindustan Times, 14 July 2022.

[15] Syed & Ahmed, “Abraham Accords, Indo- Pacific Accord and the US- Led Nexus of Curtailment: Threat to Regional Security, and Joint Counter Strategy,” 26.

[16] Syed & Ahmed, “Abraham Accords, ” 27-28.

[17] Ibid., 32.

[18] Ibid., 35.

[19] “Iran and China sign 25- year cooperation agreement,” Reuters, 27 March 2021.

[20] “Iran says it foiled Israel-linked attacks on “sensitive” sites,” Al Jazeera, 23 July 2022.

[21] “Iran and China sign 25- year cooperation agreement.”

[22] Aadil Brar, “Russia- Ukraine war has brought Putin to the negotiating table. China has new plans for BRI,” The Print, 20 July 2022.

[23] Syed & Ahmed, “Abraham Accords, ”45.

[24] Stanly Johnly, “Why did Joe Biden take a U-turn on Saudi Arabia?,” The Hindu, 17 July 2022.

[25] Jyoti Malhotra, “Why US and India are taking on China with a “Middle Eastern Quad”?,” The Print, 19 October 2021.

[26] Manjari Singh, “I2U2: A Strategic Bloc or Minilateral Partnership?,” The Defence Horizon Journal, 22 July 2022, pp. 1-7, 6.

[27] Idem.

[28] Ibid., 5.

[29] Taneja, “The I2U2 summit: Geoeconomic cooperation in a geopolitically complicated West Asia”.

[30] Singh, “I2U2: A Strategic Bloc or Minilateral Partnership?,” 7.

[31] “US pulls missile defenses in Saudi Arabia amid Yemen attacks,” The Hindu, 11 September 2021.

[32] Seth G. Jones, Jared Thompson, Danielle Ngo, Brian McSorely & Joseph S. Bermudez Jr, ‘The Iranian and Houthi War against Saudi Arabia’, Centre for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), December, 2021, 5-7.

[33] “US pulls missile defenses in Saudi Arabia amid Yemen attacks,” The Hindu, 11 September 2021.

[34] Syed & Ahmed, “Abraham Accords, Indo- Pacific Accord and the US- Led Nexus of Curtailment: Threat to Regional Security, and Joint Counter Strategy,” 46.

[35] Malhotra, “Why US and India are taking on China with a “Middle Eastern Quad”?”.

[36] “China Israel announce innovative comprehensive partnership,” Xinhua News, 21 March 2017.

[37] Harsh V Pant, “India and Iran: An “Axis” in the Making?,” Asian Survey, vol. 44, no. 3, 2004, 369-383, 375.

[38] Pant, “India and Iran: An “Axis” in the Making?,” 377.

[39] Mandana Tishehyar, “Afghanistan and the India- Iran world view,” Observer Research Foundation, 25 July 2022.

[40] Pant, “India and Iran: An “Axis” in the Making?,” 377.

[41] Kabir Taneja, “The Abraham Accords: Powerlifting West Asia”s geopolitics,” Observer Research Foundation, 11 May 2022.

[42] Shmuel Trigano, “The Abraham Accords: Contrasting Reflections,” Begin- Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, 2021, 1-14, 4.

[43] Taneja, “The Abraham Accords: Powerlifting West Asia”s geopolitics”.

[44] Trigano, “The Abraham Accords: Contrasting Reflections,” 11.

[45] Singh, “I2U2: A Strategic Bloc or Minilateral Partnership?,” 6.

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