I2U2 summit: India’s role in the new grouping
The first I2U2 summit will be held online on July 14
Modi, Biden, Sheik Mohammed and Yair Lapid will attend
I2U2 is being referred to as west Asian Quad
I2U2, the newest grouping on the geopolitical block, sits for its first summit, to be held online, on Friday, July 14. The two Is in I2U2 stand for India and Israel while the two Us stand for the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in attendance at Thursday’s summit, as will Israel PM Yair Lapid, US President Joe Biden and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyen.
Since conceptualisation of I2U2 in October 2021, the grouping as often been referred to as ‘West Asian Quad’. The Quad is a conglomeration of four countries – India, Japan, Australia and the United States – with its primary motive being maritime security. China often calls Quad the ‘Asian NATO’.
What’s the purpose of I2U2?
The I2U2 is a four-nation block created to encourage investments in six areas: water, energy, transportation, space, health and food security. “It (I2U2) intends to mobilize private sector capital and expertise to modernise the infrastructure, low carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health and promote the development of critical, emerging and green technologies,” according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
What’s India’s perspective on I2U2?
For India, I2U2 is an opportunity to engage with Israel after the Abraham Accords without risking its relations with Arab nations on the Persian Gulf. The Abraham Accords constitutes a joint declaration by Israel, UAE and the United States on normalisation of relations. UAE was the first nation to “normalise” relations with Israel after Jordan in 1994.
Those who view I2U2 as the ‘west Asian Quad’, believe the purpose of I2U2 will be to counter China’s bid to expand geo-economic influence in the region. However, India is likely to stay away from any security cooperation so as to avoid straining its ties with Iran.
The leaders of India, Israel, UAE and US are likely to discuss joint projects within the I2U2 framework as well as common areas of mutual interest to strengthen economic partnership in trade and investment.