The United States, Saudi Arabia, India, and additional countries are in discussions about a potential infrastructure agreement that could reshape trade relations between the Gulf and South Asia.
The proposal aims to connect Middle Eastern nations via railway systems and extend these links to India through maritime ports, as stated by American officials privy to the discussions.
While these negotiations have also involved the United Arab Emirates and European nations, it remains uncertain whether a definitive outcome will be reached in time for a public announcement during this week’s G20 leaders’ summit, according to sources.
This development coincides with the Biden administration’s pursuit of a more expansive diplomatic accord in the Middle East, which would include Saudi Arabia formally recognising Israel. Axios was the first to report on these multi-nation infrastructure talks.
Officials indicate that the envisioned infrastructure agreement could offer several benefits, including shorter shipping durations, reduced costs, decreased diesel usage, and more efficient trade.
Saudi Arabia is also set to take part in an investment forum, which will be attended by India’s Trade Minister Piyush Goyal and Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid al-Falih. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry is organising the event.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is engaging in discussions with Italy regarding a possible investment in Rome’s new strategic fund. The kingdom is particularly interested in sectors such as energy, sustainability, supply chains, and sports as it looks to broaden its footprint in Italy.