During his visit to the Middle East last month, President Biden attended a summit of what has come to be known as the I2U2: a four-way forum involving Jerusalem, New Delhi, Washington, and Abu Dhabi. Dov Zakheim presents the historical background of the relations of each country with the others, and then looks to the future:
This new quad evokes parallels to the Indo-Pacific quad consisting of the U.S., India, Japan, and Australia. . . . In particular, like the Indo-Pacific quad, I2U2 is not a military alliance, nor does it explicitly target any particular country.
Indeed, the four partners of I2U2 do not have a common adversary. Whereas the U.S. and Israel see Iran as a major threat—an existential threat in Israel’s case—the UAE maintains trade and diplomatic ties with Iran while India is ambivalent about Iran.
India’s relationship with Iran is cordial but complicated. India stopped importing Iranian oil in 2019 due to America’s “maximal sanctions” on Tehran. Iran also resents India’s close ties with Israel, while India is uneasy about the implications of the recently finalized Iran-China strategic partnership, which has a significant military component. India also is concerned about Iranian support for the Houthis [in Yemen], given its close ties to both the Emirates and the Saudis, who have been the targets of Houthi missile attacks.
At the I2U2 summit, the four countries committed to new cooperation in high-tech, initially on clean energy and food security. At least for the foreseeable future, coordinated military partnership, as opposed to bilateral arrangements between any two of the four countries, is off the table. Nevertheless, . . . the new I2U2 quad may see a tighter military partnership with the passage of time—especially if, as many anticipate, Iran will develop a nuclear bomb that will most certainly destabilize the region.