New Delhi: The United Arab Emirates will invest USD 2 billion to develop a series of integrated food parks across India under the framework of the four-nation grouping ‘I2U2’ as its leaders explored practical cooperation and joint projects in areas of food security and clean energy.
It was also announced on Thursday at the first virtual summit of ‘I2U2’ leaders – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – that the grouping will advance a hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat with a capacity to generate 300 megawatts of wind and solar power and it will be complemented by a battery energy storage systems.
The summit of the grouping is known as ‘I2U2’ with “I” standing for India and Israel and “U” for the US and UAE, came amid increasing geopolitical turmoil triggered by the crisis in Ukraine, and the evolving situation in West Asia.
In his remarks, Modi said the ‘I2U2’ has established a positive agenda from its first summit itself and that it would make an important contribution in areas of energy security, food security and economic growth.
“It is clear that the vision and agenda of I2U2 is progressive and practical,” he said noting that the cooperative framework of the grouping is a good model for practical cooperation in the midst of increasing global uncertainties.
“I am confident that with I2U2, we will make a significant contribution towards energy security, food security and economic growth at the global level,” he added.
A joint statement said the “unique grouping of countries aims to harness the vibrancy of our societies and entrepreneurial spirit to tackle some of the greatest challenges confronting our world, with a particular focus on joint investments and new initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.”
It said the ‘I2U2′ leaders’ meeting focused on food security crisis and clean energy and that they discussed innovative ways to ensure longer-term, more diversified food production and food delivery systems.
The leaders expressed their determination to leverage well-established markets to build more innovative, inclusive, and science-based solutions to enhance food security and sustainable food systems.
The statement further added that the UAE will invest USD 2 billion to develop a series of integrated food parks across India that will “incorporate state-of-the-art climate-smart technologies to reduce food waste and spoilage, conserve fresh water, and employ renewable energy sources”.
The statement said India will provide appropriate land for the project and will facilitate farmers’ integration into the food parks.
“The US and Israeli private sectors will be invited to lend their expertise and offer innovative solutions that contribute to the overall sustainability of the project.
These investments will help maximise crop yields and, in turn, help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East,” it said.
The meeting focused on the food security crisis and clean energy with the leaders discussing innovative ways to ensure longer-term, more diversified food production and food delivery systems that can better manage global “food shocks”, it said.
The statement mentioned that ‘I2U2’ group will advance hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat consisting of 300 megawatts of wind and solar capacity, to be complemented by a battery energy storage system.
The US Trade and Development Agency funded a feasibility study for the USD 330 million project and UAE-based companies are exploring opportunities to serve as critical knowledge and investment partners.
“Israel and the United States intend to work with the UAE and India to highlight private sector opportunities. Indian companies are keen to participate in this project and contribute to India’s goal of achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030,” it said.
The joint statement said such projects have the potential to make India a global hub for alternate supply chains in the renewable energy sector.
The I2U2 grouping was conceptualised during the meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries held on October 18 last year.
“We reaffirm our support for the Abraham Accords and other peace and normalization arrangements with Israel. We welcome the economic opportunities that flow from these historic developments, including for the advancement of economic cooperation in the Middle East and South Asia,” the statement said.
The I2U2 also welcome other new groupings of countries, such as the Negev Forum for regional cooperation, that recognise the unique contributions of each partner country, including Israel’s ability to serve as an innovation hub.
The leaders also welcomed India’s interest in joining the US, the UAE, and Israel in the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative (AIM for Climate).
“They affirmed that these are only 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,” the joint statement said.
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