The first virtual inaugural summit of the I2U2, with the four-nation grouping comprising Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, UAE President Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Israeli PM Yair Lapid, ended on a positive note on 14 July 2022 with an investment of US$ 2 billion to develop a series of integrated food parks across India and also the establishment of a 300-megawatt hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat.
The I2U2’s aim is to discuss common areas of mutual interest and to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in our respective regions and beyond. The four nations decided to jointly invest in key sectors broadly aiming at encouraging joint investments in six mutually identified areas - water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary, shared, “In today’s summit the Prime Minister had a frank and a very purposeful conversation with the other I2U2 leaders on working towards strengthening economic ties in our respective regions and beyond. The Summit had a very positive, constructive and I would even say tangible agenda, which included discussions on promoting specific projects, specific joint projects, and also discussions on common sectoral areas for the benefit of our respective countries as also for our regions. The I2U2 has established a positive agenda with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) making an investment of $2 billion (about Rs 15,500 crore) in India to develop a series of Integrated Food corridors across India, which would deploy climate smart technologies to reduce food wastage and spoilage, conserve fresh water at the same time, and also employ renewable energy sources.”
In this endeavour, the US and Israeli private sectors would lend their expertise as partners in this project, and would also look at offering innovative solutions that contribute to the overall sustainability of the project. India welcomed the project and will provide appropriate facilitation towards its successful operation. The project has four key connects to the people on the ground. One of them of course, is maximization of the crop yields, two enhancement of Indian farmers’ incomes, three, contributing overall to the food security in South Asia, and in this case, as an extension also in the Middle East.
He further added, “The second project is related to renewable energy. The I2U2 countries will advance a hybrid renewable project in Dwarka, Gujarat, consisting of 300 MW of wind and solar capacity complemented by a battery energy storage system. The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has already funded a feasibility study for this project, which is roughly the quantum of US$ 330 million (about 2,500 crores). UAE based companies are exploring opportunities to serve as knowledge and investment partners on the project. Israel and the US intend to work with the UAE and India to highlight private sector opportunities in this field. Indian companies of course, are very keen to participate in this project and contribute to India's goal of achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030. Such projects, of course, have the potential to make India a global supply chain hub in the space of renewable energy.”
“Overall, the discussions in the Summit were very fruitful and productive and there are mechanisms in place we hope to take forward the outcomes of this Summit with our I2U2 partners and other stakeholders through these established mechanisms,” he added.