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A New Four-Nation Group in West Asia

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Dr Vedapratap Vaidik

US President Joe Biden is visiting Saudi Arabia next month.  The President, in the same leg of his trip, will also visit Israel and Palestine.  During Biden’s scheduled visit a new four-nation group (G4) with   America, India, Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expected to take shape.  There is already a four nation group existing in the Indo-Pacific region with America, India, Japan and Australia as members.

There is a marked difference between the existing and the new group.  The member nation of the new group is known for their anti-China stance.  The US’s apathy to China is well known to the world. So the new formation can be treated as an anti-China coalition.

There exists a strong bond between three member nations of the group. There is a live free trade agreement between India and Saudi Arabia.  Such a trade agreement is in force between Israel and UAE. This indicates the kind of forward leap the world has witnessed in the last 25 -30 years.

The close ties of the UAE, a Muslim nation with an anti-Pakistan nation like Israel is indicative of the fundamental changes taking place in international politics.  The US President’s visit to Israel and Palestine in the same leg  is also highly significant. Although this new  group of four nations of West Asia started with the meeting of  their  foreign ministers last year, the formal launch of the group  will be with great celebrations.

Top leaders of these four nations will participate in this conference in mid-July. Obviously this is not a military alliance like NATO, CENTO or SETO. China’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region can be linked to military motives, but there is no such challenge in West Asia. There are still differences with Iran on the nuclear issue, but America does not need to form any military alliance against that country.  As far as India is concerned,  we have never been and will never be a member of any military alliance.

Even in the Indo-Pacific quadrangle, our attitude is neither anti-China nor anti-Russian. India is taking great care in this matter.  We are active in these groups,   but not willing to be the hanger of any superpower. At present, India is also organizing meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN countries.  Our initiative is to enhance mutual economic and business relations. It would have been good that Pakistan also associates with such organizations. But will  Pakistan  venture to do that is a million dollar question.

*The author is the Chairman of the Foreign Policy Council of India

*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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