Introduction

With the electoral victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, US foreign policy towards the Middle East will witness a few course changes based on previous statements made by the incoming president. It behooves analysts, therefore, to understand what sort of changes a Biden presidency can bring to India’s foreign policy specifically towards the Middle East.

This article therefore looks at how a Biden Presidency will impact India’s trajectory in the Middle East. It will begin by explaining the historic influence of the United States (US) on India’s positions with regards to countries in the Middle East. It will then explain what India’s current role in the region is and how it lines up with the major powers in the region, the Gulf nations (mainly Saudi and the UAE), Israel, Iran and Turkey. It then explores the Biden administration’s projected trajectory in the Middle East and how that may influence India’s positions in the region.

The paper argues that largely, India’s engagement with nations in the Middle East will undergo a course correction due to Biden’s positions on countries like Iran and Israel among others.  Biden’s reconciliatory approach to Iran will bring India back to its previous role of balancing relations in the region, even if it takes a while. Moreover, it also argues that, like for most nations, Biden’s stable and grounded approach will provide a slightly more predictable and less erratic foreign policy approach that will make it easier for India to plan its own presence in the Middle East without being subject to the vagaries of Donald Trump’s moods and abrupt foreign policy changes. As such, the rules of engagement in the Middle East will likely change and follow old trajectory allowing India to capitalize on the balancing act it has had in the region.