The signing of an MoU on India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi after co-chairing a special event with the US President Joe Biden on Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) and IMEC, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi.
India-Middle East-Europe' Economic Corridor (IMEC)
India-Middle East-Europe' economic corridor or Bharat-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor is the first-of-its-kind economic corridor which will be a historic initiative on cooperation on connectivity and infrastructure involving India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, EU, France, Italy, Germany, and the US.
- The project is part of an initiative called the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment.
- The rail and shipping corridor is part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) — a collaborative effort by G7 nations to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations.
- PGII is a developmental initiative aimed at narrowing the infrastructure gap in developing countries as well as help towards accelerating progress on SDGs globally.
- PGII is considered to be the bloc’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
- The project will aim to enable greater trade among the involved countries, including energy products.
- It could also be one of the more ambitious counters to China’s massive infrastructure program, through which it has sought to connect more of the world to that country’s economy.
- The corridor will include a rail link as well as an electricity cable, a hydrogen pipeline and a high-speed data cable.
- The rail deal will link shipping and rail lines from India to Europe through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.
- An India - Middle East - Europe economic corridor will make trade between India and Europe 40% faster.
- The plans to build a rail and shipping corridor linking India with the Middle East and Europe is an ambitious project aimed at fostering economic growth and political cooperation.
Parts of the project
The IMEC comprises an Eastern Corridor connecting India to the Gulf region and a Northern Corridor connecting the Gulf region to Europe.
- The East Corridor will link the Indian port of Mundra on the west coast to Fujairah port and then using the railroad via Saudi Arabia and Jordan transport goods through standardized containers to the Israeli port of Haifa.
- The North corridor will be from Haifa, from where the Indian goods will reach various ports like Marseille in France and other ports in Italy and Greece.
Objectives of the project
G20 Bharat-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor" redeems post-Partition India’s quest for restoring an extended and deeper connectivity in the region". It will address obstacles created by Pakistan' s denial of over-land access and China’s reported connectivity designs in the region.
- It would increase prosperity among the countries involved through an increased flow of energy and digital communications. The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor is expected to attract additional Asian countries, boosting manufacturing, food security, and supply chains within its sphere of influence.
- According to the MoU, the corridor will consist of an east corridor linking India to the Arabian Gulf and a northern corridor connecting the Arabian Gulf to Europe.
- The project would help deal with the lack of infrastructure needed for growth in lower- and middle-income nations.
- It will feature a railway network designed to provide reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit, complementing existing maritime and road transport routes. This railway route, primarily traversing the Middle East, includes plans for laying electricity cables and clean hydrogen pipelines.
- Enhanced infrastructure would boost economic growth, help bring countries in the Middle East together and establish that region as a hub for economic activity instead of as a “source of challenge, conflict or crisis" as it has been in recent history.
- The project is very ambitious as it has the potential to link countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh with this corridor if the Myanmar junta allows a dedicated port for this project and walks out of the ever lengthening shadow of China.
- For instance, Bangladesh has six railway exit points to India, and all could be utilized for sending goods to Europe via Mundra port.