The 2023 G-20 summit, which was held under India’s presidency, was highly successful despite the group’s limited economic focus on the complex global issues of our time. India’s exceptional performance at the summit, held in early September, garnered widespread global media attention. Notably, the summit saw various significant achievements being undertaken.
GS2- International Relations-
Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor has the potential to reshape global geopolitics. Critically analyse in the context of Israel- Saudi Arabia relations. (15 marks, 250 words).
India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor
- The most unexpected and boldest outcome of the G20 summit was the announcement of the “India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor,” a rail and shipping route designed to transport goods from India to Europe via the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel.
- This project has the potential to reshape global geopolitics and is seen as a challenge to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
- U.S. President described it as a significant transformation for all parties involved and the rest of the world.
India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor- Israel-Saudi Arabia and India:
- Israel expressed eagerness to participate in the project. Interestingly, in the joint statement, Israel’s Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the US President but did not mention Indian Prime Minister, who had initiated the idea.
- This omission could be attributed to domestic politics and a lack of attention to President Biden’s foreign policy objectives. Such actions could harm Israel’s foreign policy goals.
- The success of this economic corridor depends on the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
- The G-20 summit witnessed an unprecedented Middle Eastern presence, with India inviting numerous Middle Eastern countries as guests. However, it is puzzling that India did not extend a similar invitation to Israel, its strategic partner in the region, especially considering the announcement of the economic corridor, in which Israel plays a role.
- Prime Ministers Modi and Netanyahu share a close friendship. Possible reasons for this exclusion include difficulties in arranging a meeting between Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Netanyahu without diplomatic normalization and President Biden’s avoidance of Netanyahu due to domestic political considerations.
- Saudi Arabia has expressed its willingness to end the diplomatic boycott of Israel, marking a significant historical shift. Saudi Arabia’s acceptance of Israel could also encourage other Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan and Indonesia to consider normalization.
- However, Saudi Arabia has stipulated that Israel must commit to the two-state solution and the well-being of the Palestinian people, even if the Israeli occupation continues.
- Saudi Arabia, along with the Arab League and the European Union, is making efforts to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians through a “Peace Day Effort.”
Achieving peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict is highly challenging, given rising extremism on both sides. Saudi Arabia remains interested in fostering dialogue with both Arabs and other Muslims while collaborating with the Biden administration to pursue peace with Israel. The development of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor may have to wait until these diplomatic goals are met.