- I2U2 stands for India, Israel, the UAE, and the US, and is also sometimes referred to as the ‘West Asian Quad’ on the lines of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) which has Australia, India, Japan, and the US as members.
- The I2U2 grouping was established in 2021 following an initiative by the four countries’ foreign ministers.
- Its stated aim is to discuss common areas of mutual interest, to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in respective regions and beyond.
- Six areas of cooperation have been identified by the countries mutually, and the aim is to encourage joint investments in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
- With the help of private sector capital and expertise, the countries will look to modernise infrastructure, explore low carbon development avenues for industries, improve public health, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies.
- The coming together of India, Israel, US and UAE is likely to facilitate greater engagement across the Western Indian Ocean region – which lies between India, the Suez Canal and South Africa. It is strategically critical as it contains the key maritime chokepoints of the Bab-el-Mandeb and the Suez Canal.
- Major sea lanes pass through the region and it is a critical cog in the global energy network as well as security dynamics. The region has seen a rise in maritime piracy, illegal smuggling of drugs and weapons, and terrorism.
- Regional states also host military bases of major powers including China (in Djibouti), Russia (Sudan), Japan (Djibouti) and France (Djibouti), making it an arena of major power contestation.
- The new grouping looks to explore prospects in other common areas of mutual interest in a bid to enhance mutual cooperation (including security cooperation) and economic partnerships in trade and investment.
- I2U2’s definition of security involves strengthening energy, economic and food security, too. In the wake of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world has witnessed supply chain disruptions on the energy and food security of countries. I2U2’s prioritisation of such security will strengthen the capacity of its member-nations.
- By drawing on the support and resources of other countries, India as part of I2U2 will be in a better position to secure its neighbourhood.
Why in News?
- The first I2U2 Business Forum kicked off in Abu Dhabi.