- India Middle East Europe Corridor was launched at the recently concluded G20 summit 2023 in India.
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Governments of India, the US, Saudi Arabia, the European Union (EU), the UAE, France, Germany and Italy to establish this economic Corridor.
What is India Middle East Europe Corridor (IMEC)?
- India Middle East Europe Corridor is a network of transport corridors comprising railway lines and sea lanes to promote economic integration between Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe.
- Project Details- The proposed corridor will comprise of two separate corridors- the Easterncorridor and the Northern corridor. The Eastern Corridor will connect India to the Arabian Gulf and the Northern Corridor will connect the Arabian Gulf to Europe.
- It will involve transit by ship between India and Saudi Arabia, followed by a rail link to the UAE and likely to Jordan from where the shipment will move by sea to Turkey and further by rail.
- Along with the railway track, cables for energy and digital connectivity as well as a pipeline for clean hydrogen export will be laid.
- Member Countries – India, US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, European Union (EU), Italy, France and Germany.
- It is part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) which is a collaborative effort by G7 nations to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations. PGII is the G7 bloc’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. PGII is part of G7’s vision of Build-Back-Better
- Increase in Trade and employment opportunities- This proposed corridor project would increase the trade of manufactured goods and facilitate the development of clean energy. It would increase efficiencies, save costs, promote economic cohesion, create jobs, leading to a radical integration of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
- Development of Infrastructure-This proposed economic corridor project would help deal with the lack of infrastructure needed for growth in lower and middle-income nations. IMEC will be a green and digital bridge across continents and civilizations as the corridor will include a rail link as well as an electricity cable, a hydrogen pipeline and a high-speed data cable.
- Promotion of Intra-regional Connectivity-It will promote Intra-regional connectivity and enhance trade, prosperity and connectivity.
What is the Significance of IMEC for India?
- Launch of this connectivity corridor project is of immense significance to India
- It links major ports of western India including JNPT, Kochi, Kandla and Mundra with major shipping ports of the Gulf, including Jebel Ali, Fujairah, Ras Al-Khair, Dammam, Duqm, and Salalah
- Strategic engagement with the Arabian Peninsula- Through this connectivity project the Indian govt now has an opportunity to build enduring connectivity between India and Arabia. The current project will strengthen India’s role as a driver in shaping regional connectivity.
- Breaking Pakistan’s dominance-It breaks Pakistan’s monopoly over India’s overland connectivity to the West. Since the 1990s Delhi has sought various trans-regional connectivity projects with Pakistan. But Islamabad was adamant in its refusal to let India gain access to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia.
- Reduced dependence on Iran-It also provides India an alternate transport corridor route for Europe by reducing over dependence on Chabahar Port and INSTC.
- Increase in Trade Competitiveness- According to US report this economic corridor will make trade between India and Europe 40% faster. This will increase the trade competitiveness of Indian exports.
- IMEC is India’s moment. But it will also be the cornerstone of economic progress across the region by supercharging regional trade, and connecting Asia with Europe through a region that has never, since the ancient Red Sea route, been considered for such connectivity despite its game-changing potential in terms of shorter transits, accessibility, and multimodal connectivity
- Success of Indian Middle East Europe Corridor could help diversify the options available to the countries who have infrastructure requirements.
- The speed of implementation of the corridor and its ability to avoid the problem of financial and ecological sustainability
will determine the success of IMEC.
- A comprehensive IMEC agreement with a clear time frame will help translate the commitments of the MOU into a roadmap for action.