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G20 Summit: ‘India-Middle East-Europe’ economic corridor, a modern-day spice route, announced. Details here

G20 Summit update: India-Middle East-Europe’ economic corridor including shipping and railway links will be launched soon. The first-of-its-kind economic corridor will be a historic initiative on cooperation on connectivity and infrastructure involving India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, EU, France, Italy, Germany, and the US.

Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the project during the annual Group of 20 summit of the world’s top economies. The project is part of an initiative called the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment.

The White House report stated that the rail deal will link shipping and rail lines from India to Europe through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.

“The ‘India-Middle East-Europe’ economic corridor is historic. It will be the most direct connection till date that will make trade faster,” said Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, at the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) and India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor programme at Bharat Mandapam.

‘An India – Middle East – Europe economic corridor will make trade between India and Europe 40% faster”, Ursula von der Leyen added. Von der Leyen described the project as a “green and digital bridge across continents and civilizations.” She added that it includes cables to transmit electricity and data.

The plans to build a rail and shipping corridor linking India with the Middle East and Europe is an ambitious project aimed at fostering economic growth and political cooperation.

“This is a big deal,” said US President Joe Biden. “This is a really big deal.”

The corridor would help to boost trade, transport energy resources and improve digital connectivity. It would include India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Israel and the European Union, said Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.

He said the enhanced infrastructure would boost economic growth, help bring countries in the Middle East together and establish that region as a hub for economic activity instead of as a “source of challenge, conflict or crisis” as it has been in recent history.

In January, the White House started having conversations with regional partners about the concept. By spring, maps and written assessments of existing rail infrastructure in the Middle East were being drafted. Sullivan, and senior White House aides Hochstein and Brett McGurk, travelled to Saudi Arabia in May to meet with their Indian, Saudi and UAE counterparts.

All sides have worked since then to finalize details of the agreement announced Saturday.

The parties also brought Israel and Jordan into the project. Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have diplomatic relations, though the White House has been pushing them toward normalizing relations.


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Updated: 09 Sep 2023, 07:31 PM IST


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