Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the first-ever I2U2 Virtual Summit.
I2U2 stands for India, Israel, the UAE, and the US.
Moreover, the Ambassador of UAE to India, Ahmed Albanna, had referred to the new grouping as the ‘West Asian Quad’.
The genesis of this group took place in middle-east to harness the maritime traffic of the Strait of Hormuz, Bab Al Mandab and Suez Canal region.
Out of the 8 maritime choke points in the world, these three lie closer to each other around Israel and UAE.
Purpose of I2U2:
Strait of Hormuz: The strait is approximately 167 km long, with a width of about 96 km at its widest to 39 km at its narrowest point.
One third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 25% of total global oil consumption passes through the strait making it a strategic choke point.
Bab Al Mandab Strait: This is a vital strategic link in the maritime trade route between Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean via Red Sea and Suez Canal.
On an average 60 ships pass through this strait each day. But unfortunately, this region has been infested with pirates and plagued by instability. This is another example of a choke point.
Suez Canal: This is one of the more famous names of the three straits.
This is an artificial sea level trade route via Egypt, a vital trade link between Europe and Asia.
Statistics suggest 56 ships cross this canal each day.
One block in the canal in April 2021 had caused a lot of monetary loss to myriads of countries.
Aim of I2U2 grouping
The 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.
US President Biden’s recent visit to the Middle East will also focus on Israel’s increasing integration into the region, both through the Abraham Accords with UAE, Morocco and Bahrain.
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.
Significance of I2U2 Grouping:
The grouping of the four nations- India, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and the United States met for the first time under a new framework in October 2021.
At that time, the grouping of the four-nation was called ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’.
India will receive the benefit of the Abraham Accords to deepen engagement with Israel without risking its ties with the UAE and the other Arab states.
India will benefit from this grouping as India is a massive consumer market and an immense producer of high-tech and highly sought-after goods as well.
The Israel–UAE normalization agreement is officially called the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement.
It was initially agreed to in a joint statement by the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August, 2020.
The UAE thus became the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to agree to formally normalize its relationship with Israel as well as the first Persian Gulf country to do so.
Concurrently, Israel agreed to suspend plans for annexing parts of the West Bank. The agreement normalized what had long been informal but robust foreign relations between the two countries.