New Delhi: This may go down as the new century’s extraordinary and a path-breaking initiative. India, Israel, UAE and the United States have come together forming a bloc.
In the words of Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, “Through this grouping, the intention principally is to mobilize the private sector capital and deploy it for many areas of economic cooperation. The key ones of them I would like to list is – expertise, deploy expertise to modernize infrastructure, pursue pathways for low carbon development for our industries, improve public health and access to vaccines”.
He also referred to the advanced physical connectivity between the countries in the West Asian region, and the need to jointly create new solutions for waste treatment, explore joint financing opportunities, connect our start-ups to I2U2 investments and also look at opportunities in the space of FinTech.
“These projects, these initial project areas, can serve as a model for Economic Cooperation and of course offer
opportunities for our business persons and workers in this field,” he said at a special briefing in New Delhi.
The maiden virtual I2U2 Summit was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said categorically,
“we can accelerate our agenda, and contribute significantly to the global economy”.
Mr Modi further said, “Our cooperative framework is also a good model for practical cooperation in the face of
increasing global uncertainties. I am confident that with “I2U2″, we will make significant contributions to energy
security, food security and economic growth on a global scale”.
In his address, US President Joe Biden was also emphatic. “The simple truth is this: The challenge we face in the world, in our world, in the 21st century demand that we find new ways of working together, whether it’s accelerating climate crisis — dealing with the accelerating climate crisis, which is being felt here in the Middle East every single day”. He also spoke about “growing food insecurity and volatile energy markets made worse by Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attack against its neighbor, Ukraine”.
Briefing journalists, Foreign Secretary Kwatra said “two joint projects” were discussed by the leaders and preceded in turn by preparations at the Sherpa level meetings between the Sherpa of the four countries.
“The first project relates to the food corridor. Under this project, the UAE intends to invest roughly US$ 2 billion to develop a series of Integrated Food corridors across India, which would deploy climate smart technologies to reduce food wastage and spoilage, conserve fresh water at the same time, and also employ renewable energy sources”.
The project will have four key connects to the people on the ground. “One of them of course, is maximization of the crop yields, two enhancement of Indian farmers’ incomes, three, contributing overall to the food security in South Asia, and in this case, as an extension also in the Middle East,” Kwatra said.
He further said, “In this endeavour, the US and Israeli private sectors would lend their expertise as partners in this
project, and would also look at offering innovative solutions that contribute to the overall sustainability of the project. India welcomed the project and will provide appropriate facilitation towards its successful operation”.
The Foreign Secretary pointed out that in the Summit, PM Modi had a “frank and a very purposeful conversation” with the other I2U2 leaders on strengthening economic ties in respective regions and beyond.
“The Summit had a very positive, constructive and I would even say tangible agenda, which included discussions on promoting specific projects, specific joint projects, and also discussions on common sectoral areas for the benefit of our respective countries as also for our regions,” he said.
Another project, the Foreign Secretary said relates to renewable energy.
“The I2U2 countries will advance a hybrid renewable project in Dwarka, Gujarat, consisting of 300 MW of wind
and solar capacity complemented by a battery energy storage system. The US Trade and Development Agency
(USTDA) has already funded a feasibility study for this project, which is roughly the quantum of US$ 330 million”.
Moreover, he said UAE based companies are exploring opportunities to serve as knowledge and investment
partners on the project.
Israel and the US intend to work with the UAE and India to highlight private sector opportunities in this field.
“Indian companies of course are very keen to participate in this project and contribute to India’s goal of achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030. Such projects, of course, have the potential to make India a
global supply chain hub in the space of renewable energy,” Mr Kwatra added.