I2U2 is a maritime grouping between India, Israel, the USA, and the UAE, often referred to as the “West Asian Quad” by some analysts. The grouping, known as I2 for India and Israel and U2 for the USA and UAE, launched last autumn. It has been referred to as the West Asian Quad on the lines of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), whose members comprised India, Japan, Australia, and the USA. The United States thinks that “I2U2,” a coalition made up of Israel, the United States, India, and the United Arab Emirates, can become “a feature” of the West Asian region, much like the Quad is for the Indo-Pacific. This idea was formulated by U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
A virtual meeting on the 14th of July was to be held between the members of I2U2. Along with US President Joe Biden, interim Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, and UAE President Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to attend the inaugural I2U2 meeting.
According to a transcript released by the White House, Mr. Sullivan told the traveling press, “And we think I2U2 can become a feature of the larger area, just as the Quad has been a major pillar of the Indo-Pacific policy of the United States.” When asked why India has been “involved in so many issues” such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the Quad, and I2U2, he responded, “There are numerous issues.”
According to Mr. Sullivan, India is one of the Indo-“most strategically consequential countries” and, as such, “should” be a key component of American policy. The U.S. was looking forward to Mr. Modi’s involvement in the I2U2 summit, he added, noting that India had a long history of cooperation with the Gulf nations and Israel.
According to Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s vision for West Asia includes India and the I2U2 member states of West Asia cooperating on agricultural technology. In addition, he spoke about Biden’s vision of an integrated West Asian region that will take into account issues holistically and beyond those that have been on American foreign policymakers’ list over the last 20 years.
What is the significance of I2U2?
The Abraham Accord between Israel and the UAE in October 2021 served as the ground for the creation of the regional organization, which was created to address maritime security, infrastructure, and transportation issues in the area. In light of the current situation that the four countries may work together to address, Mr. Sullivan predicted that the I2U2 meeting would result in a “major” announcement about food security and agricultural technologies.
The four nations’ ties would make it easier for them to cooperate more effectively in the western Indian Ocean region, which is located between South Africa, the Suez Canal, and India. The Suez Canal and Bab al-Mandeb, two important marine choke points, are located there, making them strategically important. The area is a crucial component in the global energy network and security dynamics because major maritime routes travel through it.
There has been a major rise in maritime threats in recent years, and there is a major military base for major powers, reflecting the maritime contestation in the region. While the area is of strategic importance to India as well, being a coastal country,
Areas of Cooperation
The Minister of external affairs stated that the leaders are looking forward to working on joint projects. At the juncture of the summit of I2U2, they will discuss the possibilities to explore projects in other common areas of interest in a bid to enhance cooperation, including security and strengthening economic partnership in trade and investments.
I2U2 is aimed at encouraging investment in six sectors: water, energy, transport, space, health, and food security. The U.S. is working with “important consuming countries” and others, such as India and China, regarding price ceilings for Russian oil, in addition to the EU and the U.K., according to Mr. Sullivan. The US ensures that such groupings can promote stable regional and also Israel’s security and prosperity over the long term.
In an official statement, Mr. Sullivan said the U.S. was “open, clear, and forthright with the key consuming countries” about decreasing Russian profits while minimizing cuts in production both domestically and abroad.
The I2U2’s leaders said that the group will not only restore and energize existing global alliance and partnership institutions but may also enable them to be used to their full potential.