He noted: The US, by pursuing the economic India-Middle East-Europe corridor plan, is trying to connect some of its allies and partners in Europe, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific region and create a framework and network of economic and trade relations that have strategic consequences, especially in terms of competition with China and control of that country.
In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Mehdi Shapouri referred to the unveiling of the plan to create the India-Arabs-Europe corridor on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in India and clarified: This project that will be connected from India, through the sea, the UAE and then Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the occupied territories to Europe, is said to be completed by 2027 with the budget of the “Global Gateway” Initiative of the European Union, which is supposed to invest a budget of over 300 billion euros in the infrastructure of developing and emerging countries and is referred to as a rival for China’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” Implementation of this corridor is related to the normalization of relations between the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia.
Saying that one of the American senators has announced that normalization will probably happen early next year, he pointed to the welcome of Mohammed bin Salman to the creation of this economic corridor.
He said Bin Salman believes that the Middle East can become like Europe and, in this regard, welcomes such projects that expand economic relations with the outside world. However, political will is essential for its realization, and it is necessary to see how the political developments will proceed.
The expert on international affairs emphasizing that the main target of this sea-rail corridor is to compete with the Chinese plans in the field of communications and transit continued: China has been discussing the corridors for several years, but there are many obstacles, and despite significant investments that have been spent on the Belt and Road Initiative, still its perspective is not clear. The fact that China lends more to projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative rather than investing shows that the Chinese authorities themselves have doubts about the success of this initiative.
Saying that in this plan, the US has more facilities and a more open hand than China to create coordination among the players of the corridor regarding the possibility of failing to implement this corridor due to China’s high-level relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, he noted: Arab countries in the area work with China and the US in economic terms and such cooperation with China cannot create an obstacle for cooperation with the US, Europe, and India. Of course, the United States is sensitive to the cooperation of those countries with China in some fields, such as military and technologies, that allow China to have possible surveillance and espionage ability and thus prevent them. For example, under the pressure of the United States, the UAE stopped a project that was said to be aimed at establishing a Chinese military base in that country.
The Research Institute of Strategic Studies (RISS) faculty member continued: Connecting India as an emerging power, Europe as a developed region, and the Middle East as a developing region with energy resources can benefit all parties. While China’s economic growth has slowed down, India is experiencing high economic growth, which can continue. The economic capacities India has created in recent years have made the prospect that this country will replace China as the driver of world economic growth in the future.
Shapouri, while explaining the relations between India and the United States and the type of role that India has played in regulating its relations with the powers, added: The Indian market is an emerging market with a lot of potential, where the countries of the region can sell their natural resources, and the United States and Europe are also trying to replace China in the field of trade and playing a role in the production and supply chain. The Arab countries of the region have taken a bold commercial and economic approach and will welcome such development plans. This plan can support the interests of Europe and the US by replacing India instead of China.
The expert on international affairs stated: Unlike the Trump administration, the policy of the current US administration is to strengthen US ties with its partners and allies as much as possible. The US, through this corridor plan, is trying to connect some of its allies and partners in Europe, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific region to each other and create a framework and a network of economic and commercial relations that have strategic consequences in helping to compete with China and its containment.
Regarding the effect of creating this corridor in attracting the Zionist regime in Asia, Shapouri said: In addition to its internal challenges and bipolarity, the Zionist regime has internal problems. If it can solve the internal and bipolar challenges that have formed, such plans can help advance the possible acceptance of Israel in the Middle East. If the Israeli extremists want to increase their extreme policies regarding Palestine, such approval will be more difficult. Even the US, especially the democrats, have major problems with the extremist spectrum ruling over that regime. If they want to continue with some of their policies, including the rejection of the two-state plan and continuation and development of settlements in the West Bank, the US support for the normalization of relations between this regime and the countries of the region will weaken.
In addition to the internal conditions and challenges of the Israeli regime, next year’s US presidential election will also affect the prospects of that corridor. The victory of the Democrats increases the probability of the success of this plan, but if the Republicans win, the prospect of its implementation will be unclear. On the other hand, the extreme nationalistic policies of the current Indian government, which expose pressures and discrimination against non-Hindus, may also cause problems in the development process of India in general and the foreign policy of that country in particular.