India, the United States, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia are preparing to announce a groundbreaking agreement that will establish strategic shipping and railway links connecting Europe, the Middle East, and India. This ambitious project is part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment and aligns with President Joe Biden’s Middle East strategy.
The initiative seeks to create an economic corridor that will link Middle Eastern countries through a network of rail links, ultimately connecting them to India via shipping lanes. The European Union is also expected to play a role in this transformative project.
US Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer emphasized the project’s value proposition, focusing on the flow of commerce, energy, and digital communication, all of which are expected to boost prosperity in the participating regions. This initiative is being seen as an “affirmative, positive agenda and vision for global infrastructure” that will address the needs of underserved countries and regions.
The project aims to enhance connectivity, reduce conflict, and offer an alternative to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. It is designed to promote commerce, energy trade, digital connectivity, and high standards in a transparent, non-coercive, and sustainable manner.
The groundwork for this initiative was laid during a meeting of top national security officials from India, the US, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia in Saudi Arabia in May. The forthcoming announcement is expected to be made by President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Israel is not currently part of the project, it may join if its normalization process with Saudi Arabia progresses successfully. The initiative has its origins in discussions within the I2U2 forum, comprising India, Israel, the United States, and the UAE.
US Deputy NSA Jon Finer stressed that the United States does not view this initiative as a competition with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Instead, it offers a distinct value proposition based on high standards, transparency, sustainability, and a non-coercive approach. The project is expected to appeal to countries seeking alternative infrastructure solutions.
The project is seen as a significant step toward enhancing regional and global connectivity, fostering economic growth, and promoting stability in the Middle East and beyond. It underscores the commitment of participating nations to building a more secure and prosperous interconnected region.