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PM Modi Announces Game-Changing Rail and Port Corridor at G20 Summit
The G20 Summit has set the stage for a transformative shipping and rail corridor, uniting countries across the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a shipping and rail corridor connecting the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe at the G20 Summit in New Delhi.
"Strong connectivity and infrastructure are the base of the development of humanity. India has prioritized this in its developmental journey," said PM Modi while addressing the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) conference with G20 leaders.
The announcement of a new corridor will lead to a comprehensive rail and shipping connectivity network linking US, India, Saudi Arabia, Gulf and Arab states, and the European Union.
A memorandum of understanding was inked to explore shipping and rail transportation that will enable the flow of commerce, energy, and data in India across the Middle East to Europe.
Key Reasons For The Corridor:
The infra deal will reduce shipping time and cost making trade cheaper and faster.
An alternative to China’s Belt and Road project, which has left a host of developing countries in deep debt such as Pakistan, Kenya, Zambia, Laos and Mongolia.
New corridor will increase the flow of energy, trade, and digital communications.
Tackle the infrastructure deficit that hampers growth in lower- and middle-income nations.
Contribute to reducing tensions and instability in the Middle East, thereby improving overall regional security.
"First, it is not just the Railway project, it is shipping and Railway project and it is important for people to understand how expansive, ambitious, and ground-breaking this will be," said Jon Finer, US Deputy National Security Advisor.
“We have an approach to the Middle East that we had been implementing since the very first day of this administration, that is focused on turning the temperature down, on de-escalating the conflicts that have been underway in some cases for many years,” he said, describing the region as historically often a “net exporter of turbulence and insecurity.”
Kurt Campbell, the senior U.S. official for Indo-Pacific policy, also said the leaders were working on a "major breakthrough" related to infrastructure and communications that would link India with the Middle East and Europe, Reuters reported.
The rail link will make trade between India and Europe nearly 40 percent faster, said the European Commission President.
The plan aims to integrate railway routes and port linkages, spanning from India to Europe, traversing through the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel. According to a European Commission representative, this integration will expedite the movement of goods across these regions. Furthermore, the initiative will focus on the advancement of energy infrastructure, facilitating the production and transportation of environmentally friendly green hydrogen to all participating nations. As part of the plan, there is also a provision for improving telecommunications and data connectivity through the deployment of a new undersea cable connecting the entire region.
Bloomberg had reported yesterday citing a top White House aide that US President Joe Biden and the leaders of India, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are pushing ahead with their plans for the joint infrastructure deal.
Axios had earlier reported that an agreement was likely to be announced during the summit as part of Washington’s efforts to balance China’s influence in the region.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both allies of the United States, are increasingly aligning themselves with China as they aim to strengthen their connections with rapidly expanding economies in the eastern hemisphere. In the previous month, these two oil-rich nations from the Gulf region announced their intention to become members of the BRICS consortium of emerging market countries. This decision was spurred by China's active efforts to facilitate the expansion of the bloc's membership.
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