US, India, Saudi, EU unveil rail, ports deal on G20 sidelines in New Delhi

Published September 9, 2023
President of the European Union Ursula von der Leyen, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman , Indian PM Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden (left to right) attend an event to announce an  a multinational rail and ports deal linking the Middle East and South Asia in New Delhi on Saturday. — Photo courtesy PM Modi’s Twitter
President of the European Union Ursula von der Leyen, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman , Indian PM Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden (left to right) attend an event to announce an a multinational rail and ports deal linking the Middle East and South Asia in New Delhi on Saturday. — Photo courtesy PM Modi’s Twitter

Global leaders announced a multinational rail and ports deal linking the Middle East and South Asia on Saturday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi.

The pact comes at a critical time as US President Joe Biden seeks to counter China’s Belt and Road push on global infrastructure by pitching Washington as an alternative partner and investor for developing countries at the G20 grouping.

Biden said it was a “real big deal” that would bridge ports across two continents and lead to a “more stable, more prosperous and integrated Middle East.” He said at an event announcing the pact that it would unlock “endless opportunities” for clean energy, clean electricity, and laying cable to connect communities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of summit host India said: “Today, as we embark upon such a big connectivity initiative, we are sowing the seeds for future generations to dream bigger.”

The deal will benefit low and middle-income countries in the region, and enable a critical role for the Middle East in global commerce, Jon Finer, the US deputy national security adviser, told reporters at the bloc’s annual summit in New Delhi.

It aims to link Middle East countries by railway and connect them to India by port, helping the flow of energy and trade from the Gulf to Europe, US officials have said, by cutting shipping times, costs and fuel use.

A memorandum of understanding for the deal was set to be signed by the European Union, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the US and other G20 partners.

“Linking these key regions, we think, is a huge opportunity,” said Finer.

No immediate details of the value of the deal were available.

The move comes amid US efforts for a broader diplomatic deal in the Middle East that would have Saudi Arabia recognise Israel.

From the US viewpoint, Finer added, the deal helps “turn the temperature down across the region” and “address a conflict where we see it”.

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Misery and despair
Updated 12 Jul, 2024

Misery and despair

Is a life lived happily and respectably too much to ask for from your country?
Temporary extension
12 Jul, 2024

Temporary extension

THE cabinet’s decision to allow ‘legal’ Afghan refugees — meaning those with Proof of Registration cards —...
Anti-smog strategy
12 Jul, 2024

Anti-smog strategy

BY acknowledging that smog is a year-round problem, and not just a winter issue, the Punjab government has taken the...
Population crisis
Updated 11 Jul, 2024

Population crisis

Moreover, successful programmes, such as Lady Health Workers, can be utilised to provide information and reproductive health services to women.
Taxing agriculture
11 Jul, 2024

Taxing agriculture

OUR inability to collect sufficient tax revenue is resulting in persistently high fiscal deficits, forcing ...
Negligence at PHOTA
11 Jul, 2024

Negligence at PHOTA

THE impression that the state is being careless towards aspects of organ trade control is damaging. Recent news ...