The peace agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain is a historic moment that brings together the most advanced states in West Asia for the good of humanity. Combining forces and finding common ground has never been more urgent than now, in the midst of a pandemic, and the Abraham Accord is set to generate immediate results.
This historic agreement also brings opportunities for India, which enjoys strong bilateral relations with these developed and thriving economies. India will benefit greatly by expanding its cooperation in many areas including health care, energy, agriculture, cyber security, regional security, technology, water and more.
The leaders of Israel, the United States and the UAE hailed the agreement as a “historic diplomatic breakthrough that will advance peace in the Middle East”, “chart a new path”, and “unlock the great potential in the region”. India’s ministry of external affairs praised the agreement between Israel and the UAE, defining both as “key strategic partners of India”. The scope for successful collaboration among the three countries is huge. For example, the health ministers of both Israel and the UAE have already agreed to cooperate on health issues, particularly on the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Israel and India have also been cooperating on joint research and development for rapid testing of Covid-19, as well as new technologies to combat the pandemic.
Developing together, and subsequently utilising the significant relative advantage of India in manufacturing, can bring promising results for the sake of humanity and the whole world, as well as harmonising with the great vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “Making in India, for India, and for the world”.
While business delegations and a student exchange programme are being planned, the UAE and Israel have also committed to working together on medical research and pharmaceuticals, collaborating particularly in the development of treatments and vaccine trials for Covid-19. Apex National Investment has signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, establishing Israel as a major destination for medical tourism from the UAE. Both countries have suffered under the ongoing coronavirus crisis, and it’s, therefore, fitting that the first field of cooperation is in health care.
Like India, Israel and the UAE are young countries that have managed to develop dynamic, thriving economies in a few decades. Both the UAE and Israel will gain from the expansion of trade and commercial ties. The Israeli ministry of economy and industry has estimated that Israeli exports to the UAE could jump to $500 million a year, and that Emirati investments in Israel could reach $350 million a year.
The cyber-security, medical, financial, and communications industries are expected to benefit in particular from the newfound expansion of trade and investment between the two countries. Given that both countries are strategic partners of India, we can imagine the promising potential that is embedded in this exciting peace agreement.
These initiatives and collaborations represent a bit of what is to come in the normalisation of relations between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain. The citizens of all three countries will quickly see their lives enriched as a result of this agreement, paving the way for increasingly more countries in the region to realise the vast potential that exists in making peace with Israel. As economic opportunities in the region arise, they will also expand beyond the immediate region to benefit our friends in India.
The challenges we are facing today know no borders, and it is essential that we combine our capabilities for the benefit of all of our citizens. We call on all those following this historic moment to voice their support for the agreement. This historic peace agreement opens a new era of peace and prosperity for the whole of West Asia, India, and the world.
Ron Malka is Israel’s ambassador to India. The views expressed are personal. First published in Hindustan Times