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Mega Infrastructure Project: Competition for China’s ‘New Silk Road’

Mega Infrastructure Project: Competition for China’s ‘New Silk Road’

This is still just a declaration of intent that the United States, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the European Union say they have agreed to. For European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the plans are “nothing but historic.” She spoke of the most direct link yet between India, the Persian Gulf and Europe – with a railway that would speed up trade between India and Europe by 40 per cent.

US President Joe Biden also described the project as “historic.” It opens up endless new possibilities. For example, Biden adviser Jake Sullivan has said that India should be connected to Europe in a way that not only enables “more efficient transportation of goods” but also fosters cooperation in the areas of energy and digital technology. “We believe the project is bold and transformative,” Sullivan said. It is assumed that it will find imitators all over the world.

Reuters/Evelyn Hochstein

A new trade corridor will connect India with Europe in the future

Israel is involved

It will also improve integration across the Middle East – bringing in “some unexpected partners” in the region. Sullivan pointed to the fact that Israel is part of the initiative as well. Sullivan said that was “important.” Although he stressed that the plans were not a prelude to normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message on Saturday evening that his country “is at the heart of an unprecedented international project that will connect infrastructure from Asia to Europe and will be the fulfillment of a dream that has been in the making for years.” He promised that the project “will change the face of the Middle East and Israel and will have an impact throughout the world.” The Israeli Prime Minister said that the United States contacted Israel about the “pioneering initiative” a few months ago.

Hundreds of millions of euros in planned investments

The project is scheduled to be financed, among other things, by the European Union’s Global Gateway Initiative. It plans to invest up to €300 billion in infrastructure for emerging and developing countries over the next few years. The project competes with China’s “New Silk Road,” which the People’s Republic has been working on in many countries for years. Through the New Silk Road, China supports infrastructure projects around the world and wants to open new trade routes to Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. It has concluded many agreements with almost all Arab countries.

Part of the project now announced by the European Union and the United States of America also includes the expansion of power grids and energy projects. According to the information, trade in clean energy between Asia, the Middle East and Europe will also be promoted through power cables and a green hydrogen pipeline.

According to the White House, the pipelines that will be extended from Israel to Europe will provide clean hydrogen to Europe. Projects for climate-neutral hydrogen energy production in Africa and a new underwater cable link to transmit data between the European Union and Latin America are already planned.

The project is still in its infancy

The memorandum of understanding stated that the project consists of two separate “corridors” – one linking India to the Arabian Gulf and the other linking the Arabian Gulf to Europe. It is planned to establish a “cross-border ship and railway transit network.” The project is still in its infancy and there are no specific details about the plans yet. The participants agreed to meet within the next sixty days to develop an action plan with appropriate timelines.

The G7 group of democratic industrial nations launched a global infrastructure initiative two years ago in order to compete with China. The project goes back to the Biden initiative and is considered the framework for the new project that has now been announced. The goal is to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure investment. Investment should also be made in new railway lines in Africa.

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