'I2U2' leaders to discuss joint economic projects in virtual summit on Thursday

The summit to be hosted by US President Joe Biden will be joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israeli PM Yair Lapid and President of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Published: 12th July 2022 03:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th July 2022 04:35 PM   |  A+A-

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden (Photo| AP)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden will host the first four-way virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan with a focus on food security during his visit to Israel this week, a top US official has said.

The new four-nation grouping is known as 'I2U2' with "I" standing for India and Israel and "U" for the US and the UAE.

President Biden will participate in a four-way virtual summit with the leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates and India during his Middle East trip this week, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday.

The summit will focus on food security, he added, briefing reporters on the upcoming visit of President Biden.

President Biden will be on a visit to West Asia from July 13 to 16.

The first virtual summit of the 'I2U2' will take place on Thursday, with the global food and energy crisis arising out of the Ukraine conflict likely to figure prominently in the meeting.

The four leaders are also likely to touch upon the broad contours of the new grouping and identify the key areas of cooperation.

They may deliberate on pressing regional and global issues, including the energy and food crisis in the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Russia's aggression in Ukraine has impacted the world, including probably Sri Lanka.

Blinken said, "I think we are seeing that impact around the world, and it may be one of the contributing factors to what's happened in Sri Lanka, although I think there were, as I've just said, many others that have come together."

"What we are seeing around the world is growing food insecurity that has been significantly exacerbated by the Russian aggression against Ukraine," he said during a press conference in Bangkok.

Western countries, led by the US, have imposed crippling economic sanctions on Russia for launching a 'special military operation' in Ukraine in February.

Blinken said that there are more than 20 million tonnes of grain that are sitting in silos in Ukraine that can't get out to feed people around the world because Russia is blockading Ukraine's ports in Odessa, the Black Sea.

"So we're seeing the impact of this Russian aggression play out everywhere. It, again, may have contributed to the situation in Sri Lanka. We're concerned about the implications that it has around the world," he said.

The I2U2 grouping is expected to largely focus on issues relating to trade and investment. India's bilateral strategic ties with each of the three countries are on an upswing in the past few years.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the global energy and food security concerns last week on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting in Bali.

Jaishankar also held a separate meeting with his counterpart from the UAE, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

India and the US are already members of a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad along with Japan and Australia.

Biden had also hosted the first-in-person summit of Quad leaders in Washington on September 25 during which the leaders had pledged to ensure a "free and open" Indo-Pacific, which is also "inclusive and resilient", as they noted that the strategically vital region, witnessing China's growing military manoeuvring, is a bedrock of their shared security and prosperity.



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