Extensive plans for a corridor connecting Europe, the Middle East, and India were announced today in Delhi during the G20 meeting. According to US authorities, it will facilitate the flow of energy and trade from the Gulf to Europe by reducing shipping times, costs, and fuel use by connecting Middle Eastern countries by train and connecting them to India via port.
At the G20 Summit’s introduction of the “India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor” and “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared, “We all have reached an important and historic partnership.”
The corridor agreement aims to connect India’s enormous market of 1.4 billion people with western nations, provide a check on China’s extravagant infrastructure expenditure, strengthen Middle Eastern economy, and promote normalisation of relations between Israel and Gulf Arab states.
The action coincides with US efforts to broker a wider Middle Eastern diplomatic agreement that would see Saudi Arabia recognise Israel.
According to the news agency AFP, one planned project would connect railway and port facilities throughout the Middle East, including those in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel. This may speed up trade between India and Europe by up to 40%.
At the announcement event, US President Joe Biden referred to the initiative as “historic” and stated, “This is a real big deal.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the so-called India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor was “much more than ‘just’ a railway or a cable”.
According to AFP, several officials say the US is eager to see the initiatives take off since they coincide with numerous of Washington’s goals. As Riyadh and Washington’s relations soured following the US-Iran nuclear agreement and the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, US involvement might possibly help heal those ties.
AFP was given information about the economic corridor’s development of infrastructure for “green hydrogen” production and transportation. Each project has the potential to assist Middle Eastern nations who are dependent on oil in weaning their economies from using fossil fuels.
The US is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the US, and other G20 partners to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has spread Chinese influence, investments, and commerce across Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The deal aims to strengthen connectivity between India and the Middle East and counter BRI. The project comes at a critical time as Biden seeks to counter China’s Belt and Road push on global infrastructure.
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