Leaders of India, United States, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are likely to announce a big joint infrastructure deal on 9 September at the ongoing G20 Summit in New Delhi. The project is expected to connect Gulf and Arab countries via a network of railways.
The network will also connect to India through shipping lanes from ports in the region. The development comes as a part of Washington’s attempts to balance China’s influence in the region, according to a report published in Axios.
US President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, declined to comment on any potential announcement at the G-20, but told reporters en route to the summit in New Delhi that it was an initiative the US was invested in along with its partner countries.
“We believe that connectivity from India, across the Middle East to Europe is incredibly important and will bring a significant number of economic benefits, as well as strategic benefits, to all of the countries involved,” he said.
Sullivan had traveled to Saudi Arabia for talks which also included Indian and UAE representatives on the topic, earlier this year.
US allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been growing their diplomatic presence in China as they strive to deepen their connections with the region's swiftly expanding economies. After China spearheaded an effort to open up membership in the grouping, the two oil-rich Gulf states announced last month that they were joining the BRICS group of emerging market countries.
Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) are attempting to boost the group's prominence and stave against US control over the world economy and commerce, including through the use of the US Dollar.
Separately, Israel and Gulf nations have discussed a US-backed plan to quicken land trade routes between the Gulf countries and the Mediterranean Sea, but officials concede that no timetable for such modifications has been established yet.
Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative, which has funded hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of infrastructure in developing countries, has drawn criticism from the US in recent years. China has recently improved relations with the Middle East as well, it assisted in mediating a détente between Saudi Arabia and Iran, earlier this year.