Sevinç İrem BALCI
The first Virtual Summit of the grouping of the four nations Israel, India, United States of America (the US) and United Arab Emirates (UAE), shortened as I2U2, was realized on July 14, 2022, with the participation of the leaders of those states, respectively Yair Lapid, Narenda Modi, Joe Biden, and Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. In the summit it is declared that the nations are ready to cooperate with each other on various issues, such as water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security. In order to upgrade the infrastructure, provide low-carbon growth paths for our sectors, enhance public health, and advance the advancement of vital emerging and green technologies, the group plans to mobilize resources and knowledge from the private sector.
It is generally interpreted as the meeting is focused on economics and transportation rather than strong political unity. While the aim of US is expanding the geographic scope of the relations, it is widely believed that accession of India towards the West is quite important for the group.
Previously in October, 2021, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries have met virtually, and the potential for an India-ArabMed corridor that might take advantage of the region’s changing geopolitics to build a multimodal connection between Mumbai and the continent of Europe via Piraeus, Greece was discussed. Back then, the focus of the summit was energy transportation. However, in the meeting realized yesterday, food security and transportation took an important place. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to use mature markets to develop more creative, inclusive, and evidence-based solutions to improve food security and the sustainability of food systems. The leaders also appreciated India’s enthusiasm in participating in the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate project alongside the US, UAE, and Israel (AIM for Climate).
The leaders were also enthusiastic about group meeting, as Narenda Modi expressed that, “Our cooperative framework is also a good model for practical cooperation in the face of increasing global uncertainties. I am confident that with I2U2 we will make a significant contribution towards energy security, food security and economic growth globally.”
On the other hand, Israel’s former National Security Adviser, Maj Gen Yaakov Amidror said that Greece, Cyprus, and Israel were cooperating to address new issues brought on by the Russian-Ukrainian war in the energy markets of Europe and the Middle East. Amidror noted that cooperation between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel on natural gas pipeline projects could be a significant development in the context of the I2U2 discussions as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian War, adding that “Add India to this new situation, where Israel is a bridge with Europe and India is another big trading partner in the whole context – it will be a game changer.”
As also the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, the grouping was also likened to Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) of the Western Asia, as other analysts said as well. However, it should be noted that Quad’s cause of appearance is to balance the power politics in the Asia-Pacific, to prevent a specific country to become the hegemon in the region. Instead, I2U2’s existence was to deal with the common problems faced because of the Russo-Ukrainian War mainly, and make it possible for India to reach the West, and create collaboration on various issues, mainly economics, transportation, energy and etc.
In conclusion, the First Virtual I2U2 meeting is the step for a considerable grouping that may turn into an economic alliance, since the US and Israel is already partners, and they aim at to take UAE and India to their sides as they are significant actors in their regions, and for the resources of energy and food as well.