US, India, Saudi, EU unveil rail, ports deal on G20 sidelines

Global leaders announced a multinational rail and ports deal linking the Middle East and South Asia on Saturday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi.

The pact comes at a critical time as U.S. President Joe Biden seeks to counter China’s Belt and Road push on global infrastructure by pitching Washington as an alternative partner and investor for developing countries at the G20 grouping.

“As we work to address infrastructure gaps across low and middle-income countries, we need to maximise impact of our investments. That’s why a few months ago I announced the United States will work with its partners to invest in economic corridors. In practice, it means we’re focusing on regional infrastructure projects, delivering results across multiple countries and in multiple sectors,” Biden said.

“This is nothing but historic. It will be the most direct connection to date, between India, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe, with a rail link that will make trade between India and Europe 40 percent faster. With an electricity cable and a clean hydrogen pipeline, to foster clean energy trade between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the deal would feature a rail link to improve transport between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, and energy connections for electricity and hydrogen.