In a bid to encourage nations to reduce their involvement with China, President Biden is deploying a multifaceted approach that includes potential agreements with key players in the Middle East. One such initiative, currently in progress, involves leaders from the United States, India, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates finalizing a collaborative infrastructure agreement. This momentous development is set to be formally announced during the upcoming G20 summit in New Delhi, as confirmed by a reliable source.
If this agreement comes to fruition, it will establish an extensive transportation network. This network will feature shipping routes connecting India and Saudi Arabia, followed by railway transportation within Saudi Arabia and the UAE, possibly extending to Jordan. Subsequently, goods would be shipped to Turkey, from where they would continue their journey by train.
At the core of President Biden's strategic vision is to demonstrate the appeal of the United States and its aligned allies as superior economic and security partners when compared to China.
This infrastructure project is just one facet of Washington's efforts to persuade countries to reduce their dependence on China. Another significant endeavor is the ongoing negotiation of a substantial agreement with Saudi Arabia. In this arrangement, the U.S. would forge a robust defense partnership with Riyadh and assist in establishing a civilian nuclear program. In return, Saudi Arabia would distance itself from its close associations with China and Russia while working towards normalizing relations with Israel.
Moreover, there is speculation that if a normalization agreement is achieved between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Israel might join the collaborative railway project. This project initially took shape during discussions within the I2U2 forum, involving the U.S., Israel, the UAE, and India.
However, the possibility of an Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization agreement hinges on Israel making substantial concessions to the Palestinians, a prospect complicated by the firm stance of Prime Minister Netanyahu's government.
White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, couldn't confirm if the infrastructure deal would be officially announced at the G20 summit but emphasized the considerable attention and effort invested by the United States and its partners in this initiative.
China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative has been fostering major infrastructure projects across the region. The I2U2 forum and the potential joint rail project represent the U.S.'s strategic response to counter China's influence.
Furthermore, the economic relationship between the UAE and India is already robust, with India being the largest importer of Emirati goods and the UAE ranking as India's third-largest trading partner. Emirati companies have recently invested significantly in the India-UAE Food Corridor to enhance the Gulf country's food security.
India's aspirations to become the primary food source for the Middle East underscore the significance of Israel in this endeavor. India's Foreign Ministry has established 29 Indo-Israel Centers of Excellence aimed at improving crop yields, efficient water use, and crop diversity, positioning Israel as a key partner in India's ambitious agricultural goals.