(Update: adds info, remarks)
New Delhi, Sep 9 (EFE).- The United States, the European Union, India, Saudi Arabia and other countries whose leaders are meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi on Saturday announced a massive infrastructure initiative that will link South Asia, the Arabian Gulf and Europe.
The project aims to provide a counterpoint to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road, and will consist of a network of railroads and ports aimed at improving trade and energy flows between South Asia, the Gulf and Europe.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor is “nothing but historic”, while Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the initiative was “important” and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it “unprecedented.”
“This is a big deal,” US president Joe Biden said. “This is a really big deal.”
Biden said the “economic corridor” would help build sustainable, resilient infrastructure that would lead to the creation of a “better future” that provides “greater opportunity, dignity and prosperity for everyone.”
The announcement of the “India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor” is a show of strength by the Biden administration, which has looked to curb the influence of China’s Silk Road, with which Beijing has funded billion-dollar infrastructure projects around the world over the past decade and seen its geopolitical and economic power across five continents grow.
China has also increased its political influence in the Middle East in recent years, acting as an intermediary in the agreement signed in March by Saudi Arabia and Iran to re-establish diplomatic relations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is not expected to attend the summit in Delhi, plans to receive leaders from around the world in Beijing in October, including his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, for a forum on the Silk Road. EFE