Trilateral Cooperation Initiative: The United States of America has never been a reliable partner and has a strong tendency to betray its allies. For at least a century, Indians have been aware of this sinister diplomacy. Even the US’s allies have recognised the US’s traitorous attitude. Both France and the UAE have become victims of the appeasement politics of the Biden administration.
The secret announcement of the AUKUS group and the USA’s dilly-dallying on the Iran nuclear deal even after dastardly attacks on oil production sites in the Gulf have forced the three nations to look for like-minded partners to replace the untrustworthy USA.
That’s why the hegemonic USA, the bipolar world, and Non-alignment are a few examples of the set narrative of the yesteryears. Now, the world is becoming more decentralised with new global players emerging on the geopolitical arena.
In this changed geopolitical reality, new alliances with a shared worldview are coming to the fore. The trilateral of India, France, and the UAE is colloquially known as “The Rafale Group.” It is one such tectonic alliance that has the potential of shattering the residue of yesteryear’s world order.
The Troika establishes a “Trilateral Cooperation Initiative.”
Recently, the Foreign Ministers of India, France, and the UAE came to an agreement to establish a formal trilateral cooperation initiative. They agreed to form this trilateral group during a telephone conversation. A significant telephonic conversation was held to adopt a roadmap for the implementation of this initiative.
Productive conversation with colleagues, French FM @MinColonna and UAE FM @ABZayed today evening.
Earlier, on September 19, 2022, the first trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers from the three nations took place. The trilateral agreement is the result of successful negotiations that started at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last September.
The trilateral agreement acknowledges the shared desire of the participating nations to promote international stability and prosperity. The aim of the trilateral group will be to further expand cooperation in various fields of mutual interest.
The main points of the statement can be summarised as follows:
“The Rafale Group” agreed to work with the aim of advancing cooperation in the energy sector, particularly in the areas of solar and nuclear energy. The group will have a specific focus on the Indian Ocean region (IOR). To achieve this, the three member countries will consider collaborating with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on practical and effective projects.
Notably, the IORA is an intergovernmental organisation focused on improving cooperation and sustainable growth in the Indian Ocean region. There are 23 member states and 10 dialogue partners in this group. The significant thing is that India commands a huge amount of geopolitical clout in this group.
With the help of India – France and the UAE want to remain relevant in one of the most crucial geopolitical regions in terms of trade, transit routes, and navigational security, among others.
As per the official joint statement, defence will be an area of close cooperation between the three countries. The group will make efforts to further promote compatibility, joint development, and co-production. Along these lines, the three countries will begin joint military exercises, and, to no surprise, Rafale will be a major spectacle of this military exercise.
Further, the Trilateral Cooperation Initiative will also serve as a platform to expand cooperation between the three countries’ development agencies on sustainable projects. The three countries aim to align their economic, technological, and social policies with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
United in Action: Trilateral Support for India’s G20 Presidency and the UAE’s COP-28 Leadership
The Trilateral Cooperation Initiative has agreed to remain focused on addressing climate change and biodiversity conservation. Individually, the group expressed support for other member countries that are scheduled to host multinational events such as the G20 presidency or the COP-28 meeting taking place this year. In 2023, India is slated to host the Presidency of the G20, while the UAE will host the 28th Conference of Parties (COP-28) of the UNFCCC.
That is why a great focus of the “Rafale Group” is on climate issues, as is evident from the elaborate support in the joint statement issued by the trilateral group. Henceforth, a range of trilateral events will be organised in the framework of the Indian Presidency of the G20 and the UAE’s hosting of COP-28 in 2023.
Furthermore, the three countries also agreed to expand their cooperation through initiatives such as the Mangrove Alliance for Climate and the Indo-Pacific Parks Partnership.
The trilateral group has agreed to work on areas of global good like fighting future pandemics or technological advancement for the betterment of humanity. For example, the group has stated that its focus will be on key issues such as single-use plastic pollution, desertification, and food security. The group will also strengthen exchanges of views on emerging threats from infectious diseases and on measures to fight future pandemics.
The trilateral group will seek greater cooperation between academic and research institutions to encourage co-innovation projects, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship. The Trilateral Cooperation Initiative will also promote cultural cooperation through joint projects such as heritage promotion and protection.
The three countries coming together on the same page on the global stage will be a significant boost to their international standing. As stated above, with India, France and the UAE get the gateway to Asia and the crucial transit route, the Indian Ocean Region. Additionally, with greater bonhomie, they hope to get greater access to the growing Indian market.
Similarly, India benefits from extended cooperation with France and the UAE. Both are among the leading nations in their respective regions and have global clout. It may sound surprising to many, but over time, France is gradually playing the role that Russia or the USSR used to play earlier. India is trying to diversify its defence procurement, in which technology transfer is a crucial factor in deciding the fate of any defence deal.
It is important to note that with the UAE, India is now in three multinational groupings. These include the promising groups I2U2 (India, Israel, the USA, and the UAE), India-Israel-UAE, and now this trilateral group (India, France, and the UAE). Moreover, the UAE is becoming India’s trade gateway for the Gulf and Middle East.
Along with its ally Saudi Arabia, the UAE influences organisations such as OPEC and the OIC. With increased cooperation with India, the UAE may play a role in directing these groups towards aligning with India.
In this century, the tripartite alliance will steadily move the world towards a positive global outcome. The formation of this new alliance has the potential to usher in a new era of global cooperation and set the stage for a more prosperous future. The green shoots of this are already benefiting the participant nations, and it promises the same for the world.
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