A new collaboration has been evolving between the governments of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States, representing the first letter of the four countries as the I2U2 leaders’ summit, 2022. Ahmed Albana, the Ambassador of the UAE to India, also referred to this summit as the “West Asian Quad’. The summit was also named the International Forum for Economic Cooperation. On the 14th of July 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, along with Israel’s PM Yair Lapid, President of the UAE Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and United States President Joe Biden, participated in their first virtual video conference of I2U2. The conceptualization of the I2U2 summit was initiated during the foreign ministers’ meeting between these four countries on the 18th of October 2021. Sherpa-Level interaction has also been executed between these countries to accentuate the possible areas of cooperation.
Objectives and Areas of Cooperation
The main aim of the grouping is to incorporate investment in six different mutually identified areas, namely, food security, water, health, energy, transportation, and space. It intends to mobilise private sector capital and expertise to modernise infrastructure and low-carbon development pathways for industries, improve the health sector, and foster the development of critical emerging and green technologies. The leaders also discussed potential ventures within the framework of I2U2, as well as other familiar domains of mutual interest, to strengthen economic cooperation between the nations in trade and investment in their respective regions and beyond. These projects of cooperation may serve as models of economic cooperation and advance possibilities for businessmen and workers.
The groupings also pointed out the growing engagement of India with the West Asian countries, including Israel, with whom there has been a closer tie under PM Modi’s reign in the last few years. Two weeks before the I2U2 summit, PM Modi visited the UAE after he attended the G7 summit, which was soon after Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited the region in May this year. Moreover, the US President’s visit to the Middle East also showcased Israel’s increasing integration into the region both through the Abraham Accord established between the UAE, Morocco, and Bahrain, and also with the new grouping of partnerships including the UAE, India, and the United States, which is named as I2U2. The Abraham Accord, signed in 2020, officially normalised diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel, signalling a significant shift in the West Asian countries’ attitudes toward Israel.
This unique grouping of countries aims to harness the vibrancy of the divergent societies and the spirit of entrepreneurship to address some of the greatest challenges confronted by our world, focusing on joint investments and new inventiveness in water, food, transportation, health, energy, and space security. At the UN security council meeting, the US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas Greenfield, said that the virtual summit of I2U2 between India, Israel, the UAE, and the United States portrayed the possibility of a closer relationship between Israel and other countries in and outside the region. The leaders of the world thus portray I2U2 as the ‘game changer’.