NEW DELHI, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Leaders of several countries announced on Saturday, in the context of the G20 summit in New Delhi, a railway and port agreement that will link the Middle East and South Asia.
The pact comes at a critical time, as US President Joe Biden seeks to counter China’s push for global infrastructure through the “Belt and Road Initiative,” presenting Washington as a partner. and alternative investor for developing countries in the G20.
Biden said it was a “great deal” that would link ports on two continents and contribute to a “more stable, more prosperous and integrated Middle East.”
At an event announcing the pact, he said it would unlock “infinite opportunities” for clean energy, clean electricity and laying cables to connect communities.
Summit host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Today, as we embark on such a huge connectivity initiative, we are sowing the seeds for future generations to dream big.”
The deal will benefit low- and middle-income countries in the region and allow the Middle East to play a critical role in global trade, Jon Finer, US deputy national security adviser, told reporters during the bloc’s annual summit. in New Delhi.
It aims to link Middle Eastern countries by rail and connect them to India by port, which will help the flow of energy and trade from the Persian Gulf to Europe, U.S. officials have said, by reducing transportation times, costs and fuel consumption.
The European Union, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and other G20 partners were to sign a memorandum of understanding for the deal.
“We believe bringing these key regions together is a great opportunity,” Finer said. No immediate details on the cost were immediately available. (Reporting by Nandita Bose, Krishn Kaushik in New Delhi and Timothy Gardner in Washington; editing in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)