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IMEE-EC: Linking India, Middle East, and Europe



  Sep 12, 2023

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEE-EC)


Formation:

The corridor idea was crafted last year by the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, alongside his National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed, and Indian and US NSAs, Ajit Doval and Jake Sullivan. They held several meetings in Dubai and in May of the recent year in Jeddah.
 

Route:

The corridor envisages a multi-modal connectivity plan which includes:
 
First Leg: A rail bridge connecting Vietnam to Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India.
 
Second Leg: A critical sea link connecting Mumbai and the UAE’s strategically positioned port of Fujairah, a location that has historical significance as it hosted US frigates during the first Gulf War.
 
Third Leg: An overland linkage through the Saudi desert connecting to the Israeli port of Haifa, reaching to destinations in Italy, Germany, and France, essentially rekindling routes once traversed by spice merchants.
 

Implications

Geopolitical Implications

Counter to China's BRI: The corridor is seen as a direct counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which has led several countries into debt crises. By offering an alternative route, it aims to undercut China's influence in the region.
 
Strengthening Anti-China Alliances: The initiative underlines India’s transformation from a passive observer to an active driver in the formation of alliances with nations that share concerns regarding China’s assertiveness.
 

Economic Implications

Boost to Economic Ties: The creation of this corridor is expected to significantly boost economic, trade, and tech ties between India and several Middle Eastern countries.
 
Alternative Trade Route: By recreating the centuries-old 'Spice Route', it aims to establish a viable and perhaps more welcomed alternative to China’s BRI, enhancing trade connections between South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
 

Strategic Implications

Enhanced Connectivity: The IMEE-EC is designed to offer a comprehensive connectivity route, enhancing India’s strategic depth in its trade and diplomatic relations with a variety of nations.
 
Focus on India: The IMEE-EC brings India to the center stage of geopolitical dynamics, emphasizing its role as a counterbalance to China’s influence.
 

Challenges

Security Concerns: The region where the corridor is proposed is geopolitically sensitive and involves several nations with complex relations. Ensuring the security of the corridor would be a paramount concern.
 
Execution: Bringing together so many nations with divergent interests to work on a project of this scale would be a complex endeavor, and executing it successfully would be a formidable challenge.
 

Conclusion

The IMEE-EC reflects a significant shift in geopolitical strategies and alliances. It leverages historical trade routes to foster new alliances and economic partnerships. However, its successful implementation would require careful navigation of geopolitical tensions and meticulous planning to reap the projected benefits. It marks India’s substantial move from being a passive observer to becoming a significant player in the global geopolitical landscape, particularly as a counterbalance to China’s burgeoning influence.


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