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India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor UPSC NOTE

 IMEC project, its potential benefits, challenges

  • The Yemen conflict has seen an alarming erosion in the shipping industry’s confidence in the Suez Canal continuing to be the backbone of east-west trade. 

  • Shippers are not baulking at taking the long, circuitous voyage around Africa.

  • The Yemen conflict has beefed up the case for the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) which the Gaza war has seemingly dealt a major, if not fatal, blow. 

  • Seshadri Vasan, Director-General of the Chennai Centre for China Studies, says that even if the Yemen conflict ironically, an offshoot of the Gaza war — abates soon, it has made the case for viable alternatives to the Suez Canal stronger.

  • Critics of IMEC say the Arab Street would simply not allow any major trade link between Saudi Arabia and Israel many years after the Gaza war ends. 

  • A United States government press release of September 9 on the IMEC memorandum of understanding promised that stakeholders would meet within 60 days to flesh out the details, but

the Gaza war has ensured that no such meeting could possibly happen.

  • Connecting Al Haditha in Saudi to Haifa in Israel is at the core of IMEC but it was always going to be challenging. 

  • Rail projects such as Etihad Rail and the GCC Railway (Gulf Railway), one of whose routes is proposed to terminate at Al Haditha, are already underway in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia independently, which would dovetail with IMEC that targets ports such as Fujairah and Jebel Ali.

The impact of recent geopolitical events on its viability

  • Geopolitics is probably the biggest hurdle before IMEC

  • Harsh Pant, Vice-President for Studies at the Observer Research Foundation, says after the Gaza war, West Asia will look much different.

  • Turkey, which has been explicitly left out of IMEC, has already been expressive about its irritation and proposed an alternative to Saudi Arabia and Israel through Iraq and itself to access the Mediterranean.

  • But Mr. Pant hopes Turkey will eventually be brought into the project

  • He is also optimistic that the long-term trend towards greater trade and strategic links

between Israel and Arab nations that was championed by the Abraham Accords will hold.

  • The political resurrection of Donald Trump has two implications, Mr. Pant says. 

  • IMEC will be the sort of project that would sync with a business-focused Trump if he were to become President of the U.S. again. 

  • What is in doubt is his patience and interest in a major global project, bolstering China’s doubts regarding U.S. commitment towards the IMEC.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor UPSC NOTE
India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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