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Business News/ News / India/  IMEEC will be a win-win for stakeholders, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman
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IMEEC will be a win-win for stakeholders, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman

But the ongoing conflict in Israel is 'a worrying manifestation' of the geopolitical challenges involved, she added

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023 at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi on Wednesday (Photo: ANI)Premium
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023 at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi on Wednesday (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi: The proposed India-Middle-East-Europe Connectivity Corridor (IMEEC) will be a win-win for its stakeholders as it will help improve transportation efficiency, reduce logistics costs, increase economic unity, generate employment, and lower greenhouse gas emissions while contributing to a cleaner, safer and better world, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday. However, the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza is 'a worrying manifestation' of the geopolitical challenges in the area, she added.

India, the US, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the European Union have proposed building shipping and railway links from Europe to the Middle East and India. 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. One of the aims is to counter China's massive Belt and Road initiative

“IMEEC is a multimodal economic corridor that incorporates multiple networks of shipping, railways, and roadways and will also include electricity cables, high-speed data cables, and a hydrogen pipeline," Sitharaman said, addressing the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue.

She said the IMEEC will connect Indian ports such as Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority, Mundra (Gujarat), and Kandla (Gujarat), with West Asian ones such as Fujairah, Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and the Saudi Arabian ports of Dammam, Ras Al Khair, and Ghuwaifat. Meanwhile, a railway line will connect the IMEEC to the Saudi Arabian cities of Haradh and Al Haditha and the port of Haifa in Israel.

"The IMEEC will create a reliable and cost-effective cross-border, ship-to-rail transit network to supplement existing maritime and road transport, and facilitate trade and connectivity, leading to the economic integration of South Asia, West Asia, Europe, and the Middle East," Sitharaman said. She reiterated that developing maritime transport routes remained a priority for India.

“We are seized by the pressing need to grow the maritime sector as a whole and our government is determined to provide the requisite support by way of fiscal policy and financial outlay," Sitharaman said. “We seek to position India as a hub in new and diversified supply chains and value chains across the Indo-Pacific and, indeed, across the world," she added.

“As many as 31 projects have been identified for monetisation in nine major ports under the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) launched in 2022, with a total estimated capex of 14,483 crore ($1.74 billion) for FY25," Sitharaman said.

The proposed IMEEC project, which was signed during the G20 leaders summit in New Delhi in September, faces various challenges, including the conflict in Israel.

While the conflict is currently confined to Israel and the Gaza Strip, it could soon ripple across the entire Middle East, according to a recent report by Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI). In fact, the Israel-Hamas war could also derail the prospect of a historic peace deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a lynchpin of the IMEEC framework, the report added.

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Published: 15 Nov 2023, 07:13 PM IST
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