The UAE is the gateway to West Asia. Thus, the ground has already been paved with the signing last year of the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The idea of an India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor (IMEC) has been in the air for the last two years, as the U2I2 quartet came together. It acquired an urgency in recent months as the changing geopolitics of the Middle East (India’s ‘West Asia) saw China occupying space in a region that had for long been the US’ playing ground. The Saudi-Iran peace pact in March was a warning bell that rang loud. Two months later, the National Security Advisers of India, the UAE and the US jointly called on Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh to discuss an infrastructure project to link West Asia with Indian ports. It was on the back of these developments that on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in New Delhi, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were able to announce the IMEC, which will be driven by the G-7 countries’ Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII).