Saturday, December 9, 2023

Jaishankar and Blinken Explore the Prospects of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor

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According to a statement from the US State Department, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken engaged in discussions regarding the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor and its potential to foster high-quality infrastructure investments.

The official statement highlighted their comprehensive dialogue, which encompassed various topics, including the significant outcomes of India’s G20 presidency. It noted, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar today in Washington, D.C. Secretary Blinken and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar discussed a full range of issues, including key outcomes of India’s G20 presidency, and the creation of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor and its potential to generate transparent, sustainable, and high-standard infrastructure investments.”

Furthermore, the two leaders underscored the ongoing importance of collaboration in preparation for the upcoming 2+2 Dialogue, with a specific focus on defense, space, and clean energy sectors.

At the G20 Summit held in India, India, the United States, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor. This corridor is expected to promote economic development by enhancing connectivity and economic integration across Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. It will consist of two distinct corridors, one connecting India to West Asia/Middle East (East corridor) and the other connecting West Asia/Middle East to Europe (Northern corridor).

The project includes a rail line that, upon completion, will offer a dependable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network, supplementing existing multi-modal transport routes and enhancing the transshipment of goods and services from Southeast Asia, through India, to West Asia/Middle East and Europe.

Additionally, Jaishankar participated in discussions on India-US collaboration in critical and emerging technology, aimed at building resilient supply chains. The India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), introduced in May 2022, seeks to elevate and expand the strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the two countries.

iCET aims to position India and the US as trusted technology partners, fostering technology value chains, supporting co-development, and co-production of items, and addressing regulatory restrictions, export controls, and mobility barriers through a standing mechanism. A midterm review of iCET is expected in September 2023, with further momentum anticipated through an annual review in early 2024, co-led by the National Security Advisors of both nations.

During his visit, Jaishankar also engaged with members of Congress, the administration, business leaders, and heads of think tanks at India House in Washington, D.C., emphasizing the importance of ongoing discussions in strengthening the India-US relationship.

Earlier, he met with US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai to discuss the expanding trade and economic ties between the two nations. Jaishankar also had a meeting with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to recognize the substantial progress achieved in bilateral relations and explore avenues for further development.

Furthermore, Jaishankar participated in a conversation with think tanks to shed light on India’s growing role in global transformation.

In his earlier engagement, Jaishankar addressed the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. His visit to the United States, scheduled from September 22 to 30, includes an address at the 4th World Culture Festival organized by the Art of Living.

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