The deal highlights a long-standing ally of the US — Saudi Arabia accepted and acknowledged publicly the mediatory role of China, which is locked in a sharpening, all-round confrontation with the US, cannot be regarded as anything less than a major diplomatic setback for Washington
Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to revive two key agreements they concluded during an earlier phase of positive bilateral relations.
One is a 1998 agreement on economic, trade and investment cooperation;
The other is an agreement on internal security cooperation, concluded in 2001, which covered organised crime, terrorism and drug trafficking.
WHY US IS WITHDRAWING ?
- The US is also distancing itself from the region as it is no longer dependent on energy imports from the region.
- It has itself emerged as a significant exporter of both oil and gas.
- America knows that its survival in the region is very costly, because it will remain under the strikes of the Axis of Resistance, which has grown and gained great influence in last decade, meaning that the American presence is no longer without cost, but rather the price will rise if US stays.
- The only reason US remains engaged because its major allies are still dependent on energy supplies from the region.
- US also has a stake in the security of Israel, which also serves as its key regional ally.
AXIS OF RESISTANCE The term Axis of Resistance (also Resistance and Deterrence Axis) commonly refers to a Shiite anti-Israel and anti-Westernalliance between Iran, Syria, the Lebanese Militant group Hezbollah and Hamas.
This Iran-led alliance aims to oppose Western, namely United States and Israel, interests in the region.
- India has done well in recent years in forging much closer relations with key Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman.
- India has been able to do so even while forging a close strategic partnership with Israel. The Abraham Accords opened the door to the I2U2 initiative which brought together India, Israel, the UAE and the US in a quadrilateral regional framework, akin to the Quadrilateral (Quad) in the Indo-Pacific.
- But the deal brokered by China highlights the growing clout, following this if the multi-billion dollar($400bn) deal between Iran and China is materialized and partnership with Saudi is strengthened it will put brakes on ambitious targets set under I2U2
- American President Joe Biden has earlier assured, the US is not leaving the Middle East and that America “will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia, or Iran”.
- Earlier US saw itself as the sole provider of regional security, now this approach is changing with US effort to craft a Middle East Air Defence coalition is an example of this.
- US focus on national interest found an echo in the Middle East. The region earlier focused on transcendental notions of “pan Arabism” and “pan Islamism”. Arab leaders now are not willing to let that come in the way of normalisation of relations with Israel. Ex Abraham Accords
Thus India must find ways to revive and expand its energy partnership with Iran and fast-track the implementation of the Chabahar port and the transport corridor that would link it to Central Asia. India’s western flank is far too important to be accorded second place to the Indo-Pacific.