The U.S. believes that ‘I2U2’, a group comprising India, Israel, the U.S., and the UAE, can become “a feature” of the West Asian region, just like the Quad is for the Indo-Pacific.
This idea was articulated by U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on board Air Force One, en route to Israel with U.S. President Joe Biden.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet virtually with Mr. Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday.
“And we think I2U2 can become a feature of the broader region, just as the Quad has become a central pillar of the Indo-Pacific strategy of the United States,” Mr. Sullivan told the travelling press as per a transcript released by the White House.
His remarks were made in response to a question on what the objective was in bringing India “into so many issues” such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the Quad and I2U2.
I2U2, which was launched last autumn, has been called the “West Asian Quad” by some commentators.
Mr. Sullivan said India was one of the most “strategically consequential countries” in the Indo-Pacific and therefore “should” play a central role in U.S. strategy. India also had a long-standing relationship with the Gulf countries and Israel, he said, adding that the U.S. was looking forward to Mr. Modi’s participation in the I2U2 summit.
India and the West Asian countries in I2U2 could come together and work on agricultural technology, an example of Mr. Biden’s vision for West Asia, according to Mr. Sullivan.
He said Mr. Biden had a vision for a globally integrated West Asian region, one that is not “just focused on issues that have been top of mind for American foreign policymakers over the last 20 years — terrorism and wars”.
Mr. Sullivan said there would be a “significant” announcement around food security and agricultural technology from the I2U2 meeting, as this was an area where there was a current crisis that the four countries could come together to address.
With regard to price caps for Russian oil, the U.S. is engaging not just with the EU and the U.K. but also “key consuming countries” and others, including India and China, Mr. Sullivan said.
The U.S. was being “transparent, direct, and straightforward with the major consuming countries” about reducing Russian revenues while minimising economic disruptions globally, in the countries concerned, and the U.S., Mr. Sullivan said.
He indicated that the discussions were unlikely to conclude in days. The G7 group of the world’s advanced economies had agreed to explore the issue of oil caps when it met last month in Germany.