Biden's Belt And Road Counter Needs An Eastern Extension

(MENAFN- Asia Times) US President Joe Biden announced on September 9 at the G20 Summit in India an ambitious plan for a transportation corridor connecting India with the Middle East and, ultimately, Europe – a possible game changer for global trade.

The shipping and rail corridor would include India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, the European Union and other countries in the G20.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that the India-Middle East-Europe corridor will become a basis of world trade for the coming centuries, and history will remember that it was envisioned in India.

Indeed, this project was conceived during a meeting of the I2U2 forum of the US, Israel, the UAE and India (September 2022). In India, it was referred to as the“Western Quad.”

The rail and shipping corridor would enable greater trade and other interactions among the countries, including energy products and digital cooperation. The American-proposed passageway, which gives India a pivotal role, intends to bring Delhi closer to Washington amid its rivalry with China.

Map: The Hindu / Twitter Screengrab

It immediately comes to mind that the corridor could constitute one of the more ambitious counters to China's own Belt and Road Initiative, which sought to connect more of the world to that country's economy.

The announcement comes at a time when Washington is encouraging Saudi Arabia to normalize ties with Israel – a linkage critical for permitting the corridor to reach the Mediterranean on its way to Europe.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously discussed the possibility of a train linking Israel to Saudi Arabia via Jordan. There are many obstacles to realizing the American vision. However, they can be overcome with diplomatic acumen and money.


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