I2U2 continues to be priority for Biden administration: White House

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Washington: The grouping of India, Israel, the UAE and the US continues to be a priority for the Biden administration and is not on the back-burner due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the White House has said, underlining that the President is "deeply committed" to making sure that the I2U2 initiatives make progress.

The I2U2 grouping was conceptualised during the meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries held on October 18, 2021. The I2U2's first summit was held on July 14, 2022, to establish the group.

The grouping remains critically important, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House here on Wednesday.

Asked if the grouping is now on the back-burner or no longer active because of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the official said, "No, not at all, still a priority".

"The I2U2 remains critically important and the president is deeply committed to making sure that we continue with the I2U2, obviously with our partnership among our four countries and beyond through innovative, inclusive and science-based solutions to advance... let's not forget, enhance food and energy security space operations and other ventures, advancing projects on water conservation, waste management and other areas," Jean-Pierre said.

So, there is a strong future for the I2U2 and "we're looking forward to continuing that partnership" and it has not taken on the back-burner, the White House official said. "It certainly continues to be a priority," Jean-Pierre said.

This grouping identifies bankable projects and initiatives to tackle some of the biggest challenges confronting the world, with a particular focus on joint investments and new initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, food security, and technology.

It also aims to mobilise private sector capital and expertise to achieve a variety of goals, including modernising infrastructure, advancing low-carbon development pathways, and improving public health.

I2U2 partnership projects and initiatives are not limited in geographic scope – the group will explore opportunities anywhere it can make a positive impact, the State Department said.

The formation of the grouping, known as “I2U2” with “I” standing for India and Israel and “U” for the US and the UAE, is largely seen as a strategic attempt by the United States to check China’s increasing influence in Asia and the Middle East.