The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) was launched at the G-20 summit in New Delhi and has the potential to become an important part of Europe’s Indo-Pacific strategy. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the corridor was signed by India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the United States, the European Union (EU), and three major EU member states: France, Germany, and Italy. IMEC is significant not just for economic reasons but also for its strategic value.
From a European perspective, IMEC aligns with the EU’s strategic priorities for the Indo-Pacific region. It can complement the Global Gateway initiative and help achieve connectivity and sustainable prosperity. The corridor can also contribute to reducing dependence on China by diversifying trade and economic relations.
The EU and key member states, such as Germany, France, and Italy, have been strengthening their relations with India. They see IMEC as a way to enhance bilateral ties and increase cooperation in defense and trade. Italy, in particular, sees IMEC as a crucial building block of its Indo-Pacific strategy, connecting the Mediterranean to the Indian and Pacific Oceans through the Middle East.
However, there are challenges to the development of IMEC. The EU-India trade volume remains much smaller than EU-China trade, and self-sufficiency in critical sectors may take time. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine and a potential global economic slowdown may also impact the implementation of IMEC.
Overall, strong political will is necessary to overcome these challenges and accelerate the development of the European segment of IMEC.
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