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HomeNewsMint Explainer: I2U2 meets in New York. What is this four-nation grouping...

Mint Explainer: I2U2 meets in New York. What is this four-nation grouping about?

The I2U2 – Israel, India, UAE, and the United States – announced a new initiative on space cooperation this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York. The four-nation grouping, termed the “West Asia Quad” by some, has attracted attention in recent years. Mint looks at what I2U2 is.

How was I2U2 formed?

In 2021, the foreign ministers of the United States, UAE, India and Israel met in a virtual format to set up a grouping focused on economic cooperation. In July 2022, the leaders of the four countries met in a virtual format to flesh out the grouping and formally christen it as I2U2. 

“I2U2 is aimed to encourage joint investments in six mutually identified areas such as water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security. It intends to mobilize private sector capital and expertise to help modernize the infrastructure, low carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies,” the leaders said after the meeting.

What is the background to this?

In 2020, the historic Abraham Accords were signed. This agreement paved the way for the normalisation of relations between Israel and two Arab states: the UAE and Bahrain. Morocco also later normalised relations with Israel in December 2020. The formation of the I2U2 was seen as an effort to build on the foundation provided by the Abraham Accords by boosting cooperation between Israel and the UAE. The United States has been a key partner for both countries while India’s inclusion was seen by experts as a move from West Asian powers to develop cooperation with major Asian capitals like New Delhi.

Why is India interested in the grouping?

“India sees clear and tangible benefits from the I2U2, starting with the group’s first two announcements: a $2 billion investment and technological assistance for agricultural initiatives in two Indian states, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh; and support for a hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat,” writes Daniel Markey for the United States Institute of Peace. India also has an interest in seeing the normalisation process between Israel and the UAE succeed.

What does the grouping have planned next?

Representatives of the four nations met on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly Session. “Secy (ER) Dammu Ravi attended the Sherpas meeting of the I2U2 countries in New York on the sidelines of UNGA 78. The Sherpas unveiled the new I2U2 website, which will enhance cooperation between India, Israel, the US and the UAE & partnerships across the globe. They also launched the I2U2 Private Enterprise Partnership,” said the official spokesperson of India’s Foreign Ministry. The four nations also unveiled a new program on space cooperation.

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