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Business News/ News / India/  G20 Summit: US, India, UAE, Saudi to finalise Middle-East shipping, railway deal

New Delhi: India, the US, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are set to unveil an agreement to build shipping and railway links that will link Europe and the Middle-East to India, said American officials. The plan is to create an economic corridor that links Middle-Eastern countries through rail links, which will then be connected to India through shipping lanes. The European Union will also be involved.

"First and foremost, it is the value proposition we see in linking these three regions of the world and enabling the flow of commerce, energy and digital communication, that we think is going to help increase prosperity," said US Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer in a press briefing.

He called it an “affirmative, positive agenda and vision for global Infrastructure that the United States and our partners are laying out that we think has real appeal for countries and regions that are underserved."

The project first came into spotlight in May after top national security officials from the four countries met in Saudi Arabia to discuss the deal.

US president Joe Biden and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi are expected to announce the project as a part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment.

The project, which is in line with president Biden's middle east strategy, will enhance connectivity, de-escalate conflict, and provide a counter for China's 'Belt and Road' initiative.

This project, which will push commerce, energy trade, digital connectivity, high standards, will be executed in a transparent, non-coercive and sustainable way, Finer added.

“National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Saudi Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval on May 7 in Saudi Arabia to advance their shared vision of a more secure and prosperous Middle East region interconnected with India and the world," reads a release from the White House regarding the meeting in May.

News outlet Axios reported that the idea for this project came up during discussions part of the I2U2 forum, which includes India, Israel, the United States and the UAE. While Israel is not yet part of the project, it may play a role if its normalisation process with Saudi Arabia goes through, reported Axios.

US Deputy NSA Finer pointed out that the United States did not see the proposed projects as a part of a competition with China.

“We do not see it as zero sum with other approaches to infrastructure. We are not asking countries to make this zero sum choice. But we do think the value proposition we have to offer is high," said Finer.

“We have seen other efforts that are not as ambitious when it comes to high standards, when it comes to transparency, when it comes to sustainability and that are fundamentally more coercive in nature. We feel good about the contrast that what we are offering provides," he added.

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Updated: 09 Sep 2023, 11:25 AM IST
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