The I2U2 initiative is gaining momentum with the first virtual summit coming up. Read here to know more about the initiative.
I2U2 (India-Israel-UAE-USA) Grouping was conceptualized during the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the four countries held on 18 October 2021.
Each country also has Sherpa-level interactions regularly to discuss the possible areas of cooperation.
It is also referred to as the ‘West Asian Quad’ and was referred to as the ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’ back in 2021.
Aim of I2U2
I2U2 is aimed to encourage joint investments in six mutually identified areas such as:
- Food security
It intends to mobilize private sector capital and expertise to help modernize the infrastructure, and low carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies.
Origin of I2U2
These accords laid the foundation for the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world.
The I2U2 was formed in October 2021 in the wake of the Abraham accords to majorly deal with issues concerning maritime security, infrastructure, and transport.
Cooperation areas of I2U2
Technology is a prominent area in all the partner countries.
- Israel and India are having widening start-up ecosystems in their respective countries.
- UAE is also looking to divert from an oil-based economy to a technology-based economy.
Food security is an area where these countries can work together to reduce the consequences of food shortage issues.
- The 2020 report on ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the world’ stated that around 14 percent of India’s total population is undernourished.
- And the current Russia-Ukraine conflict is also causing food security challenges globally which can be tackled by the grouping.
- An agricultural park project worth USD 2 billion is likely to be announced during the first I2U2 Leaders’ Summit.
Security and defence cooperation is also of prime importance to the grouping.
- India and the US are already members of the QUAD and India has individual bilateral defence cooperation with each of the countries.
The I2U2 can give a boost to trade and connectivity among the partners.
- The countries can revolutionalize the trading systems for smoother and hindrance-free commerce.
- Trade corridors can be made operable through the gulf coast for easier and cheaper container movement,
Significance for India
India has had individual bilateral relations with West Asian nations. This grouping is a first where relations with two West Asian nations are being merged. And the Abraham accords provide the advantage of further engaging with Arab nations as well.
The platform is significant for attracting West Asian businesses and investors to India’s massive consumer market.
This grouping will also help India strengthen its position in the West Asian geopolitics both strategically and economically.
The Indian diaspora in West Asian nations will have a significant impact on the remittances and the I2U2 will help enhance the cooperation further.
The Abraham accords are a significant step in mending the Arab-Israeli ties. But there are still countries that are reluctant to initiate bilateral relations with Israel. The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the major reasons behind the reluctance.
The internal issues within the Arab nations are also challenged by the grouping’s smooth conduct. The Shia-Sunni conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia has spilled over to other gulf countries as well.
These conflicts can cause division of powers and create sects.
The Chinese presence is expanding in the West Asian region which is another point India and the US will want to counter.
I2U2 in news
The first I2U2 (India-Israel-UAE-USA) Leaders’ Virtual Summit is going to take place in July 2022.
- The Leaders will discuss the possible joint projects within the framework of I2U2 as well as the other common areas of mutual interest to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in our respective regions and beyond.
- These projects can serve as a model for economic cooperation and offer opportunities for our businesspersons and workers.
The I2U2 is a good opportunity to enhance cooperation in energy, security, food security, trade and commerce, maritime security, etc.
Cooperation between the four countries is crucial. The US is an export hub while UAE is growing in the energy sector. Israel is way ahead in terms of defence research and technology, and India is one the fastest growing economies in the world.