New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Thursday participate in the first I2U2 summit, between the leaders of India, Israel, the US, and UAE – marking the crystallization of a new strategic geopolitical quartet of the four key nations, amid the global upheavals caused by the pandemic and the Ukraine conflict and its repercussions.
The summit will be held in virtual mode, between PM Modi, and his counterparts — Prime Minister Yair Lapid of Israel, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and US President Joe Biden.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said that just like the Quad has become a “central pillar” in the Indo-Pacific, the I2U2 can become a feature of the broader Middle East region.
The summit comes as the US President is on his first visit to the Middle East region.
Sullivan also stressed India’s centrality to both the quartets. He termed India as “one of the largest, most significant, most strategically consequential” countries in the Indo-Pacific and as a country with long-standing relationships in the Middle East with a role in deepening Israel’s integration into the region.
Sullivan said that India plays a “critical role in the Indo-Pacific”.
“And it’s one of the largest, most significant, most strategically consequential countries in the Indo-Pacific, and so it should play a central role in our strategy, including through the Quad.”
He also said that India had “very longstanding ties to and engagement in the Middle East”.
“And so just as the United States can play a critical and central role in helping deepen Israel’s integration into the region, India has a role to play in that as well.”
The I2U2 Grouping was conceptualized during the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the four countries on October 18 last year, during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Jerusalem. Each country also has Sherpa-level interactions regularly to discuss the possible areas of cooperation.
The I2U2 is aimed to encourage joint investments in six mutually identified areas such as water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
It intends to mobilize private sector capital and expertise to help modernize the infrastructure, and low carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies, an official statement said.
The Leaders will discuss the possible joint projects within the framework of I2U2 as well as the other common areas of mutual interest to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in our respective regions and beyond. These projects can serve as a model for economic cooperation and offer opportunities for our businesspersons and workers, it said.