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Saturday, December 9, 2023

New UAE-India-Saudi-US shipping and rail corridor unveiled

Global leaders announced a multinational rail and port agreement linking the Middle East and South Asia during the G20 summit in New Delhi. This pact is significant as it aligns with US President Joe Biden’s efforts to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative by positioning Washington as an alternative partner and investor for developing nations within the G20.

Biden described it as a “major development” that would enhance connectivity between ports across two continents and contribute to a more stable, prosperous, and integrated Middle East. He highlighted the potential for clean energy, electricity, and community connectivity.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the host of the summit, emphasized that this initiative lays the foundation for future generations to dream bigger.

The agreement will particularly benefit low and middle-income countries in the region and bolster the Middle East’s role in global commerce. It aims to create rail connections between Middle East countries and establish ports in India, facilitating the flow of energy and trade from the Gulf to Europe while reducing shipping times, costs, and fuel consumption.

The European Union, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and other G20 partners were expected to sign a memorandum of understanding for this initiative, which is viewed as a significant opportunity for connecting key regions, although specific financial details were not immediately available.

This development aligns with broader US diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, including the potential for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel, and is seen as a step towards reducing tensions in the region and addressing ongoing conflicts.

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