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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Proposed India-UAE rail and port link

The project was proposed by Israel and the United States.

Etihad Rail launched a new 900km network in February.

The United States and Israel have reportedly proposed a massive infrastructure project to link the Middle Eastern country to India via a network of ports and rail, possibly as a counter to China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

South China Morning Post (South China Morning Post) and US news site Axios reported that the proposal was the result of discussions between the I2U2 group, a coalition formed in 2021 by the US, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India and Israel.

US national security adviser Mr Jack Sullivan visited Saudi Arabia earlier this month to discuss the plan with Crown Prince Mr Mohammed bin Salman, as well as national security advisers from the UAE and India.

Axios reported that Israel floated the idea of ​​connecting the region by rail last year, while the U.S. proposed extending the new network to Saudi Arabia. The initiative will include linking the Levant with the countries of the Persian Gulf through a network of new rail lines, which will also enable traffic to reach India through Persian Gulf ports. The project will also leverage India’s expertise in delivering large infrastructure projects.

Washington’s re-engagement with the Middle East comes after a decade-long stay away from the region to focus on competing with China on the Asia-Pacific stage. The United States has repeatedly said it will not leave a vacuum in the Middle East for China to fill.

But Beijing continues to expand its influence there. According to Fudan University’s Center for Green Finance and Development, Saudi Arabia is the second-biggest beneficiary of BRI investment in 2022, while Chinese investment in the Middle East has grown strongly by around 10%.

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