Saudi Arab on Saturday announced that an agreement had been signed between the Middle Eastern kingdom, India and the European Union to set up a new economic corridor spanning multiple regions of Europe and Asia.
Saudi state television announced that Crown Prince and Prime Minister Muhammad Bin Salman had signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on behalf of the kingdom in New Delhi. The Saudi prime minister is in India to attend the G20 summit and the agreement was signed on its sidelines.
The project, Salman said on the occasion, is aimed at "strengthening economic interdependence" and enhancing trade exchange between all participating countries.
It would also boost the trade of energy supplies, with a focus on developing clean energy sources -- green hydrogen -- as energy security is ensured across the participating countries.
Further, it would generate new job opportunities and long-term gains along the transit corridors.
The signatories of the corridor include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, India, the European Union and the USA.
US President Joe Biden, who arrived in New Delhi for the summit, termed the project a "real big deal".
With the corridor to focus on the transfer of energy and goods, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the corridor was more than just railways and cables, terming it a 'green' bridge across civilizations.
Beyond just linking India with the Middle East and Europe, the corridor could potentially see a Middle East thaw where countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE would link up with Israel to ferry goods faster to Europe.
Some experts, however, saw the project as a bulwark against the grand project launched by China in the last decade, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to connect the easternmost parts of Asia with the westernmost parts of Europe.
One of the biggest stories of the G20 summit is a deal developing on the sidelines: An infrastructure accord between the US, India, KSA, and UAE. If finalized, it would be a game changer that strengthens connectivity between India and the Middle East and would aim to counter BRI.— Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) September 8, 2023