With the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, a wave of normalisation with Israel has occupied international media coverage which if, on the one hand, surprised the regional politics of West Asia; it has provided a realistic opportunity to get benefitted with. The wave started with “Abraham Accords” of UAE signing normalisation ties with Israel in August 2020, consecutively, followed by Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. This wave began to take its shape by Egypt’s official approval in 1979 and Jordon in 1994. For state-centric approaches, normalisation is a good initiative which has provided opportunities to make the world healthy and democratic.
With maintaining democratic values and good relationship with countries in West Asia, India is respected by the global community. Despite the conflict between Arabs and Israel and between Israel and Palestine, India has rarely compromised its foreign relations credibility. Such image in the international community in general and in Arab-Muslim world in particular projects India among most trusted nations of the globe.
As India has maintained its relationship with Israel without severing the Palestinian cause, the concentration of Indian expatriates in the Gulf and Arab countries amount substantial job opportunities and earns revenues often glorified positively by Indian bureaucrats. Despite sharing anti-colonial sentiment with the Arab world, post-colonial Arab-Indian relations hugely relied on their respective history of resistance against the Western rule and pre-modern Arab-Islamic cultural exchanges with India. In the meanwhile, a realist Arab state pursuing a defined interest for its foreign relationship existed nowhere. Hence, the wave of normalisation is seen as a wave of transformation to a more constructive direction. Arab states could choose a pragmatic order for them and their people instead of carrying an unpromising moral burden.
Israel as the new boon:
India’s relationship with Israel crossed the crucial stage when it struggled to maintain anti-colonial and socialist morality. Now India-Israel relationship is well-accepted and approved internationally. However, Israel is known to sell its strategies worldwide, including India, but Israel was a taboo subject in political and strategic domains of the Arab world for so long. The recent normalisation ties have brought good news to Israel as it is no more vulnerable to adopt an aggressive and survivalist approach against Arab states. Hence, the normalisation is marked as the end of long isolation of Israel in the region.
The most signalling result of this normalisation is that Israel has been a part of Arab unification against Iran. Thus, several reports and policy analyses suggested that regional security should be cherished for Israel-UAE relationship, which could herald several other ties between Israel and Arab countries.
In the region, as security regimes are dictated by Israel, which also known for maintaining huge clientage with Arab countries and India and sells surveillance gadgets and military equipment to them. Nevertheless, one should not see it as a panacea for the region. Because the region’s perception draws much of their argument on the foggy ground, the middle east is a pawn whose strategic approaches could be underrepresented in nearly a militaristic term. The initiative taken by the UAE is welcoming because UAE is interested in buying F-35 fighter jets from the US, previously this privilege was secured with Israel only.
Thus, the ties with UAE, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan are sensational limited to military and strategic fields. One hardly finds any space for human rights concerns in this new movement of regional security called normalisation. The most dreadful challenge might come from people who are in perpetual disadvantage; Palestinians. Negated any positive reference during normalisation waves, Palestinians have rejected the Abraham Accord ties assuming it as an attack on their rights. Indeed, this rejection may reverse the US attempt for the peace and democracy in the region to a fashionably pseudo-approach for an unbiased solution to Palestinians. There is hope for a further halt of Palestinian land’s annexation, but waves of normalisation have entirely ignored Palestinian voices.
India’s benefit with friends?
For India, the normalisation process is a boon too. India’s relationship with the USA and Israel is linked with a very vibrant future and because it allows strengthening ties with India’s age-old cultural allies, the Arab world. Since India’s perception of the Middle East is not of the chessboard game but regional factors such as Iran and Turkey’s reaction during the mobilisation against Citizenship Amendment Act (2019) against the government of India may put the country into the smart strategic hold; to play its active role in the Middle East.
. However, India sees waves from normalisation ties of Israel with the Arab world as a constructive initiative, and it could open more avenues to opportunities in agriculture, technology, food security and fight against terrorism. A possible and cooperative world can create more solutions to conflicts and chaos in the region.
Iran’s wave against normalisation:
As Iran has its own agenda to speak on behalf of the Muslim world, speaking for Muslims in India and having an intervening approach on India’s stand on Kashmir could be an opportunity against master players. The Arab normalisation of ties with Israel invites India to enter the regional politics and set new security nomenclature. Even Iran’s reaction to normalisation as ‘stab in the back’ of Palestinians creates a power block for others to perform. Experts have indicated that Gulf security architecture is India’s immense stake in the future. Despite the possibility to play smart and active in the region, India’s concern remains in the field to provide an opportunity to Iran for the possible pacification otherwise China and Pakistan are waiting to join Iran’s venture on re-narrating normalisation waves.