I2U2 Summit

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    • The first-ever I2U2 Virtual Summit was held comprising India, Israel, the UAE, and the US.

    Highlights of the Summit:

    • The grouping focused on the food security crisis and clean energy during their meeting 
    • They also discussed innovative ways to ensure longer-term, more diversified food production and food delivery systems that can better manage global food shocks.
    • The leaders welcomed India’s interest in joining the United States, the UAE, and Israel in the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative (AIM for Climate).
    • For India:
      • The grouping unveiled initiatives focused on food security and clean energy, including: 
        •  UAE will invest $2-billion programme to develop a series of integrated food parks across India.
          • Food parks will incorporate state-of-the-art climate-smart technologies to reduce food waste and spoilage, conserve fresh water, and employ renewable energy sources.
          • The Indian government will provide appropriate land and facilitate farmers’ integration into the food parks.
        • I2U2 will invest in a hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat.
          • It will consist of 300 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar capacity, complemented by a battery energy storage system.

    The I2U2 group:

    • I2U2 stands for India, Israel, the UAE, and the US, and was also referred to as the ‘West Asian Quad’.
    • The group was first conceptualised in October 2021, during a meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries in Israel.
      • At that time, the grouping was called the ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’.
    • Aim:
      • 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.
        • 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.
    • Criticisms:
      • The formation of this group is criticised for having the USA’s hidden agenda to “contain” Iran in the geopolitics of West Asia.
      • India never ever got entangled in the intra-regional issues in West Asia and critics want India to refrain from being part of this alliance

    Significance:

    • Engagement with the Middle eastern region:
      • I2U2 can become a feature of the broader Middle East region, just as the Quad has become a central pillar of the Indo-Pacific strategy. 
    • Israel and the Abraham Accords:
      • The formation of this group signifies Israel’s increasing integration into the region, through the Abraham Accords.
        • 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.
    • India and west Asia:
      • The grouping also points to India’s growing engagement with countries in West Asia including Israel, with whom India has developed closer ties.
      • India and the West Asian countries in I2U2 could come together and work on food security and agricultural technology,
      • The global food and energy crisis arising out of the Ukraine conflict is likely to figure prominently in the talks that will begin a
    • Russian oil:
      • With regard to price caps for Russian oil, the U.S. is engaging not just with the EU and the U.K. but also “key consuming countries” and others, including India and China.
      • The U.S. was being vocal about reducing Russian revenues while minimising economic disruptions globally, in the countries concerned.
    • The centrality of India:
      • India’s bilateral strategic ties with each of the three countries have been on an upswing in the last few years.
      • India is one of the largest, most significant, most strategically consequential countries in the Indo-Pacific, and apart from I2U2, it is playing a central role in many other forums like the Quad.

    Way ahead:

    • The investments proposed in the recent summit will help maximise crop yields and, in turn, help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East.
      • Such projects also have the potential to make India a global hub for alternate supply chains in the renewable energy sector.
    • Each of these countries are technological hubs, including India, which is the massive consumer market. 
    • There are a number of areas where these countries can work together, whether its technology, trade, climate, COVID-19, and potentially even security as well.

    Source:IE