Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the first-ever I2U2 Virtual Summit along with the heads of state of Israel, the UAE, and the US July 14.
What does I2U2 stand for?
I2U2 stands for India, Israel, the UAE, and the US, and was also referred to as the ‘West Asian Quad’ by Ahmed Albanna, Ambassador of the UAE to India. Back in October 2021, a meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries had taken place when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was visiting Israel. At that time, the grouping was called the ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’.
The MEA said in its press release that the countries have had sherpa-level interactions regularly to discuss the possible areas of cooperation.
What is the aim of I2U2 grouping?
Its stated aim is to discuss “common areas of mutual interest, to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in our respective regions and beyond”.
Six areas of cooperation have been identified by the countries mutually, and the aim is to encourage joint investments in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
With the help of “private sector capital and expertise”, the countries will look to modernise infrastructure, explore low carbon development avenues for industries, improve public health, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies.
The grouping also points to India’s growing engagement with countries in West Asia including Israel, with whom India has developed closer ties under PM Modi in the last few years. Recently, PM Modi also made a short visit to the UAE after attending the G7 Summit, soon after Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu’s trip in May this year.
The Abraham Accords of 2020 had led to Israel formally normalising diplomatic ties with the UAE and two other countries in the region, marking an important shift in the stance of West Asian countries on Israel.