IMEC meeting

ASIA: Ambitions to develop an India – Middle East – Europe economic corridor with sea transport from India to the Gulf region and a railway linking Middle Eastern countries with each other and to Europe were announced at the G20 summit in New Delhi.

IMEC is envisaged as two separate corridors, with an east corridor connecting India to the Gulf and a northern corridor connecting the Gulf to Europe.

A memorandum of understanding on principles to work to together to establish the IMEC was signed on September 9 by the governments of Saudi Arabia, the European Union, India, the UAE, France, Germany, Italy and the USA.

The MoU says the corridor would ‘provide a reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network to supplement existing maritime and road transport routes, enabling goods and services to transit to, from, and between India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe’.

Installed along the railway route would be cables for electrical and digital connectivity, as well as a pipe for clean hydrogen exports. The corridor aims to ‘secure regional supply chains, increase trade accessibility, improve trade facilitation, and support an increased emphasis on environmental social, and government impacts’.

The MoU does not create rights or obligations under international law. The participants said they intended to meet within 60 days to develop and commit to an action plan with relevant timetables.

‘Strong connectivity and infrastructure are the foundation of the development of human civilisation’, said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ‘We believe connectivity between different countries increases not only business but trust between them.’

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the rail link would ‘make trade between India and Europe 40% faster’; but ‘this corridor is much more than “just” a railway or a cable, it is a green and digital bridge across continents and civilisations’.