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India-West Asia-Europe Economic corridor to give ‘fillip’ to Gujarat’s potential: official

India-Middle East-Europe corridor is expected to open supply chains for energy and food transportation

The proposed India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor will give a “fillip” to Gujarat’s “potential” as an investment hub, said state government officials, adding that the coastal state is the gateway to the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.

Rahul Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of Gujarat Industrial Investment Corporation, exuded confidence over the positive impact of the ambitious corridor, given the strategic position of the state.

In a response to a query from media persons, Gupta said, “We (Gujarat) have a 1,600-km coastline, the longest in the country. We are strategically located, and given the number of ports along our coastline and the fact that we are almost handling more than 40 per cent of India’s port cargo, Gujarat, even today, is a gateway to not only the Middle East but also Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. So, the kind of project you are referring to, I believe will give further fillip to the potential that the state has.”

During the G20 Summit last month in New Delhi, India, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union announced a Memorandum of Understanding committing to work together to develop a new India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.

The Corridor will consist of two separate corridors: the East Corridor connecting India to West Asia and the Middle East, and the Northern Corridor connecting West Asia and the Middle East to Europe.

It will include a rail line, which, upon completion, will provide a reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network to supplement the existing multi-modal transport routes, enhancing the transhipment of goods and services from South East Asia through India to West Asia and Middle East Europe.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the corridor and said it “is going to become the basis of world trade for hundreds of years to come, and history will always remember that this corridor was initiated on Indian soil”.

To further the growth of the state, the Gujarat government has announced that the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit will be organised in 2024 January. It is a biennial event. The last Vibrant Gujarat summit was organized in 2019. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the government could not go ahead with its plans to organise the summit in 2021.

“Even in those years of COVID, there was no let down. The relentless effort of state departments on the road to growth The growth never decelerated. notwithstanding, we went ahead with our downward march. All these economic activities—factories, making forays into newer areas, engaging emerging technologies,” state’s Additional Chief Secretary (Industries and Mines), S J Haider said last week.