Israel, India, and the Geopolitics of West Asia
In anticipation of Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to Israel, Brookings India hosted a discussion on “Israel, India, and the Geopolitics of West Asia”. This event featured Martin Indyk, Executive Vice President of the Brookings Institution and U.S. special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under President Barack Obama. Ambassador Indyk served as the U.S. ambassador to Israel from 1995 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2001. Previously, he was special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council (1993-1995) and assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in the U.S. Department of State (1997-2000).
The discussion was moderated by Dhruva Jaishankar, Fellow for Foreign Policy at Brookings India. In context of the current complex geo-political environment in West Asia, the following questions were raised during the discussion:
- What will be the parameters of the new Trump administration’s engagement with Israel? What will be the key takeaways from President Trump’s visit to Israel?
- What does Israel expect from the new American President?
- How does the current political scenario affect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chances of re-election?
- How is the upheaval in the wider West Asian region affecting Israel? Has it changed its national security calculus in any way?
- How does Iran’s pivotal role in West Asia affect India and the wider constellation of powers in the region?
- Most predictions expect the Islamic State as a territorial entity to end in the coming months. How will this change the geopolitical calculations of countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel in the region, and also the U.S.?
- What characterises the India-Israel relationship and how does the U.S. feature in this relationship?
- From the point of view of the U.S. and the Trump administration, what can India do more in the West Asian region?
- What are Palestine’s views on the burgeoning India-Israel relationship?
- Has the much stronger and visible Sino-Israel relationship overshadowed the India-Israel relationship in Asia?
- Does China’s One Belt One Road initiative have any significance for the U.S.? What are the prospects of a strong U.S.-China relationship in the future?
- What is the current status of relations between the U.S. and Russia, and how does it affect the West Asian region?
- Finally, under the new Trump administration, what role do think tanks play in terms of their influence on policy through ideas or through expert appointments?
The discussion was on-the-record and open to the media.
This event report is written by Shruti Godbole. The views are of the author(s), discussant(s).