At G20, alternative to China’s BRI announced: India-Middle East-EU corridor

The revelation of an economic corridor connecting India and Europe through the Middle East represents a significant milestone in India’s efforts to establish stronger connections with the northwestern regions.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 09 September, 2023 9:59 pm IST

In a significant development during the ongoing G20 Summit in New Delhi, India entered into a key strategic agreement to establish the Indo-Middle East-EU economic corridor, as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on Saturday.

India, the USA, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEE EC), aimed at promoting economic development through enhanced connectivity and economic integration between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

The IMEE EC will consist of two distinct corridors: the East Corridor, linking India to the Middle East, and the Northern Corridor, connecting the Middle East to Europe. It will feature a rail line that, upon completion, will establish a reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network. This network will complement existing multi-modal transport routes, significantly improving the transshipment of goods and services from Southeast Asia through India to the Middle East and Europe.

Highlighting this significant development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Charting a journey of shared aspirations and dreams, the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor promises to be a beacon of cooperation, innovation, and shared progress. As history unfolds, may this corridor be a testament to human endeavour and unity across continents.”

India is expected to benefit significantly from this joint venture, as it will firmly position India on the trade route connecting Southeast Asia to the Gulf, the Middle East, and Europe, in addition to generating employment in the logistics and transportation sector.

The revelation of an economic corridor connecting India and Europe through the Middle East represents a significant milestone in India’s efforts to establish stronger connections with the northwestern regions.

After years of concern over China’s regional connectivity initiatives through its decade-old Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which raised concerns about China taking a major strategic lead over India in its vicinity, India has now devised a strategy to establish connections with both the Middle East and Europe.

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