India, Europe, and Middle East kingdoms launch new economic corridor
19 September 2023 09:28
India hopes to create a new Silk Road-like commercial route that would sow prosperity from South Asia to Europe via the Middle East.
"The India - Middle East- Europe Economic Corridor is an appropriate opportunity for us to bring back the glory of the old Spice Route,” said Union Minister Piyush Goyal in a statement on September 17.
Announced at the recent Group of 20 meeting in New Delhi, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding to create the India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor.
“This corridor will secure regional supply chains, increase trade accessibility, improve trade facilitation, and support an increased emphasis on environmental, social, and government impacts,” the U.S. government said in a September 9 press release.
Estimated to cost at least $20 billion, the more than 5,000-kilometer-long corridor will have two parts: a route to connect India to the Arabian Gulf and a route to connect the Gulf to Europe. The corridor will include a ship-to-rail transit network, new electrical and digital lines, and a pipeline to export clean hydrogen.
Advocates claim the route will cut the time and cost of commercial traffic between India and Europe by 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
“It will enhance logistical efficiencies, lower business costs, promote economic unity, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fostering transformative integration,” wrote Ram Singh, a professor of trade at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in New Delhi, in an op-ed in The Hindu on September 11.
Officials from the eight founding countries have agreed to meet to create an action plan and timetable for next steps by early November. ce/jd