According to American officials, India, the US, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are about to announce a deal to construct railway and maritime routes connecting Europe and the Middle East to India. 

The idea is to establish an economic corridor connecting Middle Eastern nations by rail linkages and connecting them to India via sea channels. Additionally, the European Union will be participating.

First and foremost, it is the value proposition we see in linking these three regions of the world and enabling the flow of commerce, energy, and digital communication, that we think is going to help increase prosperity,” said US Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer in a press briefing.

He called it an “affirmative, positive agenda and vision for global Infrastructure that the United States and our partners are laying out that we think has real appeal for countries and regions that are underserved.”

Top national security officials from the four nations gathered in Saudi Arabia in May to discuss the proposal, which then initially gained attention.

The Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment is expecting the initiative to be announced by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The project will improve connectivity, de-escalate tension, and serve as a response to China’s “Belt and Road” program. It is in keeping with Vice President Biden’s Middle East strategy.

According to Finer, this initiative will be carried out in a transparent, non-coercive, and sustainable manner while pushing the boundaries of commerce, energy exchange, digital connection, and high standards.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Saudi Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval on May 7 in Saudi Arabia to advance their shared vision of a more secure and prosperous Middle East region interconnected with India and the world,” reads a release from the White House regarding the meeting in May.

The concept for this initiative was discussed as part of the I2U2 meeting, which also includes representatives from India, Israel, the US, and the UAE, according to news source Axios. Israel is not now involved in the project but may if its normalisation process with Saudi Arabia is successful, according to Axios.

We do not see it as zero-sum with other approaches to infrastructure. We are not asking countries to make this zero-sum choice. But we do think the value proposition we have to offer is high,” said Finer.

We have seen other efforts that are not as ambitious when it comes to high standards, when it comes to transparency, when it comes to sustainability, and that are fundamentally more coercive in nature. We feel good about the contrast that what we are offering provides,” he added.

The proposed initiatives were not seen by the US as part of a rivalry with China, US Deputy NSA Finer noted.