I2U2: $2-bn initiative unveiled to boost food security, green energy in India

Updated on Jul 14, 2022 04:42 PM IST

The UAE will invest $2 billion to develop a series of integrated food parks across India, incorporating state-of-the-art climate-smart technologies to reduce food waste, conserve fresh water and employ renewable energy sources

(From left) Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the ‘I2U2 Summit’ via video conferencing in the presence of US President Joe Biden and Israeli PM Yair Lapid on Thursday. (Twitter)
(From left) Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the ‘I2U2 Summit’ via video conferencing in the presence of US President Joe Biden and Israeli PM Yair Lapid on Thursday. (Twitter)

The grouping of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States (US) — the ‘I2U2’ — in its first leaders’ summit on Thursday unveiled initiatives focused on food security and clean energy, including a $2-billion programme to develop food parks across India and a hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and US President Joe Biden for the virtual I2U2 Summit. The meeting was held during Biden’s visit to Israel as part of his first tour of West Asia since becoming president.

The initiatives reflected the work done by the four countries to enhance cooperation under the framework of I2U2, which was established as an international forum for economic cooperation last October.

The UAE will invest $2 billion to develop a series of integrated food parks across India, incorporating state-of-the-art climate-smart technologies to reduce food waste, conserve fresh water and employ renewable energy sources, according to a joint statement issued by the four leaders.

Also Read:Like Quad, I2U2 can become a central feature of Middle East: US NSA Sullivan

India will provide land for the project and facilitate the integration of farmers into the food parks, while the US and Israeli private sectors will lend expertise and offer innovative solutions for the overall sustainability of this project. “These investments will help maximise crop yields and, in turn, help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East,” the statement said.

In the realm of clean energy, I2U2 will advance a hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat, consisting of 300 MW of wind and solar capacity complemented by a battery storage system. The US Trade and Development Agency had funded a feasibility study for this $330-million project.

UAE-based companies are exploring opportunities to serve as critical knowledge and investment partners for the project. Indian companies are keen to participate in the project and contribute to the country’s goal of achieving the target of 500-GW non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030. “Such projects have the potential to make India a global hub for alternate supply chains in the renewable energy sector,” the statement said.

The leaders expressed their determination to leverage established markets to build “more innovative, inclusive, and science-based solutions to enhance food security and sustainable food systems”, the statement said. They welcomed India’s interest in joining the US, the UAE and Israel in the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative (AIM for Climate).

The leaders said these are the “first steps in a long-term strategic partnership to promote initiatives and investments that improve the movement of people and goods across hemispheres, and increase sustainability and resilience through collaborative science and technology partnerships”.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Wednesday that food security is an area where the four countries “can come together to help deal with an immediate crisis facing the entire world”.

Asked what the US is hoping to achieve by bringing India into arrangements such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and I2U2, Sullivan said, “So, first, India plays a critical role in the Indo-Pacific. And it’s one of the largest, most significant, most strategically consequential countries in the Indo-Pacific, and so it should play a central role in our strategy, including through the Quad.”

India, Sullivan noted, also has very longstanding ties and engagement with the Middle East, and relationships with the Gulf countries and Israel.

“And so just as the US can play a critical and central role in helping deepen Israel’s integration into the region, India has a role to play in that as well,” he said.

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