Leaders of Israel, US, India and the UAE meet for the inaugural 'I2U2' virtual summit

I2U2 stands for Israel, India (both starting with "I"), UAE and the United States (both starting with "U").

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid attend the first virtual meeting of the "I2U2" group with leaders of India and the United Arab Emirates, in Jerusalem, July 14, 2022  (photo credit: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/REUTERS)
US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid attend the first virtual meeting of the "I2U2" group with leaders of India and the United Arab Emirates, in Jerusalem, July 14, 2022
(photo credit: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/REUTERS)

The leaders of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States, met for the first time on Thursday as part of the “I2U2” group, and agreed to work together on food security and clean energy, tech, and trade, among other issues.

“This 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,” the leaders said in a joint statement.

They said their intention is to “mobilize private sector capital and expertise to modernize infrastructure, advance low carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health and access to vaccines, and advance physical connectivity between countries in the Middle East region.”

They reaffirmed their 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, and in particular for the promotion of sustainable investment amongst the I2U2 partners.”

They welcomed other new groupings of countries, such as the Negev Forum for regional cooperation, which recognizes "the unique contributions of each partner country, including Israel’s ability to serve as an innovation hub connecting new partners and hemispheres to strategically address challenges that are too great for any one country to manage alone.”

The UAE will invest $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 group announced. “India will provide appropriate land for the project and will facilitate farmers’ integration into the food parks. 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 maximize crop yields and, in turn, help tackle food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East,” they said.

Clean Energy

On clean Energy, the I2U2 agreed to advance “a hybrid renewable energy project in India’s Gujarat State consisting of 300 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar capacity complemented by a battery energy storage system,” among other initiatives.

“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.

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.”

US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid meet on the second day of Biden's visit (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid meet on the second day of Biden's visit (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Statements by Lapid and Biden

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that this group is “interesting because we are four very different countries, but when we started talking, it became clear we all want the same things: for our children to be warm in the winter, for them to have food on the table and clean water from the tap, for them to enjoy a quality education and advanced healthcare and transportation infrastructure.”

“I would like to emphasize: This is not a philanthropic group,” said Lapid. “We want to change the world for the better, but we are also creating relative advantages for our countries, for our businesses, for our science sector.”“We also want to reduce the damage our generation inflicted on the climate and the environment. These are big challenges. No single country, no matter how big or how rich, can deal with them alone,” Lapid said.

“We want to change the world for the better, but we are also creating relative advantages for our countries, for our businesses, for our science sector.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

President Biden said that the challenges in the 21st century “demand we find new ways of working together, whether it’s dealing with an accelerating climate crisis, or growing food insecurity and global energy markets made worse by Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attack against its neighbor Ukraine, or as we’ve all experienced firsthand over the past two years, tackling the health security needs and economic fallout from a global pandemic.”

“All these issues require cooperation and coordination,” said Biden. “And none of us can mount a comprehensive response on our own. The more we work together, the more we’ll see the benefits multiply and grow to advance our shared commitment to peace, stability, and growing prosperity.”