Interaction with Mr. Dammu Ravi on ‘Prospects of I2U2 Summit’
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The Vivekananda International Foundation organised a discussion on "Prospects for I2U2 summit" on 25 July 2022. The key speaker in the discussion was Mr. Dammu Ravi, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs. The members attending and contributing were Amb. Anil Trigunayat; Amb.D P Srivastava; Amb. Satish Chandra; Amb. Anil Wadhwa; Amb. Prabhat Shukla, Vice Admiral Satish Soni; Dr. Meena Singh Roy; Prof. Sujit Dutta; Brig. Vinod Anand; Lt. Gen. Ravi Sawhney and Director, VIF, Dr. Arvind Gupta.

On 19 October 2021, the Foreign Ministers of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States (US) agreed to set up a forum for economic cooperation to collectively carry out concrete projects. All four states nominated Sherpas to determine the work agenda. The Sherpas have held six meetings since October 2021. The latest summit was held virtually on 14 July 2022. I2U2 forum has agreed for cooperation in six sectors i.e. food, water, energy, transportation, health and space. The joint projects would be carried out for development in South Asia and West Asia. The forum has envisioned regular consultations among senior officials and industry executives. All four states have agreed to develop hybrid renewable energy project based in Dwarka, Gujarat that would be used as wind, solar and battery storage. Moreover, food corridors have been planned in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Food crop production would be carried out for exports. Moreover, the current projects under discussion are railway connectivity project connecting Israel with the UAE as well as energy generation project from solid waste in India.

In terms of project progress, feasibility study in Gujarat for hybrid renewable energy project based has been completed by the US Trade Development Authority (USTDA). The current investment is at US$ 331 million and the key partners for the project are Indian firm Shivman Wind Pvt. Ltd and US firm, Evergreen Power Solution Inc. Moreover, UAE based M/S Masdar is keen to invest in the said project in numerous locations within India. In case of the food corridor project, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have agreed to provide land and the UAE and Israel have displayed interest to collaborate with Indian firms such as ITC, Innoterra, Olam etc. The food items under consideration are Banana, Potato, Rice, and Spices and current scale of investment is US$ 2 billion. The UAE based firm M/SADQ will develop food and agricultural parks in India. Israel will share its hydroponic technology and US will provide development finance and technical know-how. India will provide land, operational concession and associated infrastructure. The food corridor project has been designed to place small and marginal farmers as key stakeholders. It is expected that manpower, market and technology will transform India as the centre of the food corridor initiative.

India’s new proposals in the forum include Setup Task Force focussing on connectivity towards West Asia and Africa; financial interoperability through UPI; promoting startups through collaborations and funding and production of vaccine with special focus on Africa. I2U2’s strategic value lies in serving as a platform for plurilateral cooperation; expanding India’s economic footprints in West Asia and beyond; attracting investment and technology; building alternate supply chains with India at the centre and providing employment to large section of the population. For India, the successful implementation of the I2U2 projects could place India as the global hub for food and energy security and manufacturing base.

Event Date 
July 25, 2022

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