Planned Quad meeting in Dubai to be a dream: UAE’s biz community

The UAEs business community is excited to see the outcomes of the first physical meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India, the UAE, Israel and the US — expected to take place here in Dubai in the coming weeks — even as the ministries finalise the plans for it.

The four Foreign Ministers got together in a ‘hybrid’ manner last month to form the economic cooperation platform called the West Asian Quad, and now plans are on for an in-person meeting as indicated by India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar during his visit to the UAE last week.

In response to a question at a media briefing at the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai last week, Jaishankar had said: “You know, we had the initial meeting a month ago… that was a hybrid meeting… we had to have a follow-up session on that. We agree on exactly how we go… that a follow-up meeting will take place in the coming weeks, probably in Dubai.”

Dubai-based Merzi Sodawaterwala, who founded the International Federation of Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce (IFIICC) late last December in the wake of the September signing of the historic Abraham Accords peace agreement between Israel and the UAE, said the meeting will be the fruition of a long-cherished dream.

“While US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently joined the three Foreign Ministers to bring up this new Quad, it is noteworthy that the seeds of the India, the UAE and Israel trilateral were actually sown a year back with the launch of IFIICC.

“India being a friend of both the UAE and Israel is clearly the preferred partner to leverage the global potential of the UAE, Israel and India trilateral. And now with the US in the mix, it will only open up more possibilities, especially here in the UAE,” said Sodawaterwala, who is also the chairman of IFIICC that recently held an exclusive event co-organised by diplomats of the UAE, Israel and India representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The diplomats in that event agreed to peg the innovation and international business potential of the UAE, Israel and India trilateral alone at $110 billion by 2030.

The maiden success story to have already emerged out of this new trilateral relationship is Ecoppia, an Israeli world leader in robotic cleaning solution for solar with its manufacturing base in India and over 2,700 MW of global projects in its portfolio.

“It became a symbol of this new multilateral collaboration with the UAE-Israel-India trilateral after the signing its first landmark deal in the UAE with our support,” added Sodawaterwala, while highlighting the role of IFIICC that helped broker the deal and boasts of names like former Israeli President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, current Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry and former ambassador to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, Ron Malka; Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to the UAE; Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna, UAE Ambassador to India; and Sanjeev Kumar Singla, Ambassador of India to Israel, among its founding patrons.

“Ecoppia’s innovative fully autonomous, water-free robots will allow this arid region to achieve optimal productivity while saving precious water resources,” Sodawaterwala told IANS.

Jonathan Miller, Special Envoy for Energy, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hailed this particular project as an excellent example of how Israeli innovative technological solutions are crucial to achieving carbon neutrality, together with the economic benefits of a multilateral collaboration between countries and partners from especially India, the UAE and Israel.

“Developments and global partnerships in renewable energy are making it possible to overcome the challenges of climate change,” he said, while noting about a market segment which, he said, is estimated at $4-5 billion annually.

Mark Gazit, who leads ThetaRay, a cyber security and big data analytics company with headquarters in Hod HaSharon, Israel, and offices in New York and Singapore, said this new Quad will add a whole new dimension to doing business for global companies like his.

“We had been doing business for long through our partners in this region but the opportunities that exist now to reach out to our customers and clients directly wouldn’t have been there had it not been for the Abraham Accords, so much so that we are looking at setting up a permanent base here,” Gazit said during a one-day forum held recently by a UAE newspaper to discuss the brewing economic ties between India, the UAE and Israel.

Ajay Singh, who leads the operations in the Middle East for India’s Tata Consultancy Services, echoed similar sentiments.

“As a key regional player, we hope to be that bridge between India and Israel while doing and building our regional base out of UAE,” said Singh, the ME Regional Head of TCS, a global leader in IT services, consulting and business solutions with a large network of innovation and delivery centres.

All four countries have already stepped up cooperation in trade and investment with Dubai by recently inking an agreement with Delhi to build infrastructure, which would include IT towers, logistics centres and a hospital, in Kashmir. That deal was signed at the start of Expo 2020 Dubai where India and Israel pavilions are exhibiting next to each other.