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Roving Periscope: To cripple China’s BRI, G7 to promote the IMEC

Roving Periscope: To cripple China’s BRI, G7 to promote the IMEC

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: To further pulverize China’s multicontinental dream project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is already facing several problems, the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations have committed to promoting concrete infrastructure initiatives, like the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).

The IMEC initiative was firmed up on the sidelines of the G20 Summit hosted by India in New Delhi in September 2023, the media reported on Saturday.

In a communique issued at the end of the three-day G7 Summit in Italy on Friday, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attended at the invitation of his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni, the group reiterated a commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific” based on the rule of law.

The communique came after the customary “family photo” at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia, in southern Italy.

The Corridor is viewed as an initiative by like-minded nations to gain strategic influence in the face of China’s USD 200 billion BRI mega-project which has faced increasing criticism over the lack of transparency and disregard for the sovereignty of the nations.

Even the BRI’s flagship project, the USD 62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become stagnant because of Beijing’s own economic problems and the terrorist attacks on its personnel in Pakistan.

“We will further promote concrete G7 PGII (Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment) initiatives, flagship projects, and complementary initiatives to develop transformative economic corridors for quality infrastructure and investment, such as the deepening of our coordination and financing for the Lobito Corridor, the Luzon Corridor, the Middle Corridor, and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, also building on the EU Global Gateway, the Great Green Wall Initiative, and the Mattei Plan for Africa launched by Italy,” the communique said.

The IMEC envisages a vast road, railroad, and shipping network among Saudi Arabia, India, the United States, and Europe to ensure integration among Asia, the Middle East, and the West.

The multicontinental project, which bore seeds in discussions as early as May 2023, is envisaged to revolutionize connectivity, bypassing the existing roadblocks in India-Pakistan relations and facilitating rail connectivity between Europe and the Persian Gulf states, possibly extending to Israel in the future.

The operationalization of the ship-cum-train route through the IMEC might offer a vital transit solution for a range of products, enhancing trade efficiencies and carving a sustainable path forward.

The BRI is a mega connectivity project that connects China with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Russia, and Europe through land and sea routes.

Among the other priorities of the Summit’s agenda, the communique registered “unwavering support” for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.

“With a view to supporting Ukraine’s current and future needs in the face of a prolonged defense against Russia, the G7 will launch Extraordinary Revenue Acceleration (ERA) Loans for Ukraine, in order to make available approximately USD 50 billion in additional funding to Ukraine by the end of the year,” it added.

Pope Francis became the first pontiff to join the participants of the G7 hosted by Italy – US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.


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