September 11, 2023
NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced the mega India-Middle East-Europe shipping and railway connectivity corridor on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi. The announcement was made in the presence of US President US Biden, Saudi Arabia Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman and leaders of the EU. The ambitious project is a joint effort by India, UAE, USA, Saudi Arabia and the European Union to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative.
The shipping and railway connectivity corridor between India and Europe vie Middle East will allow movement of goods from India to UAE’s Fujairah Port and then to the Port of Haifa in Israel vie Saudi Arabia and Jordan. A railway line is already functioning between Saudi Arabia and Jordan. As part of the corridor, remaining portion will be build to connect Jordan to Israel’s Haifa Port.
From Haifa Port, goods from India and other Asian countries will be shipped to Europe. Italy, Germany and France have also been actively involved in the project.
Biden terms India-Middle East-Europe “a real big deal”
US President Joe Biden has termed the corridor a “real big deal” that will help low-middle-income countries in addressing their infrastructure gaps once completed.
“This is a real big deal. I want to thank PM (Modi). One Earth, One Family, One Future – that’s the focus of this G20 Summit. And in many ways, it’s also the focus of this partnership that we’re talking about today,” the US President said while addressing the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) and India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor event held on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
The corridor is a historic and first-of-its-kind initiative on cooperation on connectivity and infrastructure involving India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, EU, France, Italy, Germany and the USA.
“I expect, over the next decade as we work to address infrastructure gaps across low-middle-income countries, we need to maximize the impact of our investments. That’s why a few months ago announced that the United States will work with our partners to invest in economic corridors,” the US president said.
Connectivity increases business as well as trust, says PM Modi
Addressing the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that strong connectivity and infrastructure are the base of development of human civilization and it increases not only business but trust as well.
“India has given the highest priority to this topic…we believe connectivity between different countries increases not only business but trust between them…by promoting connectivity initiative, we need to ensure we stick to philosophies…that is, adhesion to international rules, respect for all nations’ sovereignty and regional integrity…” the PM said.