Joe Biden expressed his gratitude to Mohammed Bin Zayed

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The opening of a new trade route linking India to the Middle East and Europe through ports and trains was declared on Saturday by US President Joe Biden in addition to the presidents of India, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The project, according to the White House, will usher in a "new era of connectivity."

According to some observers, it would directly compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure initiative initiated by Beijing ten years ago with the goal of linking China and the rest of the globe.

Biden's plan, which was announced at the G20 conference in India, also includes the European Union, France, Italy, and Germany. It consists of two distinct routes: a northern corridor connecting the Gulf Arab states to Europe and an east corridor connecting India to the Gulf Arab states.

New Middle East-India trade corridor supported by the US to counter China's objectives

The ambitious plan demonstrates not just how the Gulf states are attempting to strike a balance between established allies like the US and developing partners like China in what they perceive as a changing global order, but also how the US can rely on its Middle Eastern friends in its efforts to curb China's growth.

They are also establishing themselves as crucial political and economic allies of the biggest countries on the planet.

Biden expressed his gratitude to Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ), the president of the United Arab Emirates. We wouldn't be here, in my opinion, without you.,output

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe would be the transit points for goods and services. Along with electricity and digital communication, the route will also allow for the installation of clean hydrogen export pipes.

The agreement announced during the summit, according to Biden, who was seated between MBZ and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was "a big deal."

"The world stands at an inflection point in history," Biden said, adding that it is more important than ever to invest in the plan.

Israel, which has prioritized improving ties with Saudi Arabia, praised the initiative as well, claiming that it "changes our global and historical situation" and advances the goal of "joining Israel to the world."

Notably absent from the summit was China’s Xi Jinping, who has never missed a G20 summit since taking power in 2012, and whose country has been strengthening ties with Gulf Arab states.

An alternative to a ‘debt and noose’ agreement

Some analysts say the corridor intends to challenge China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Beijing launched the massive infrastructure project in 2013 and has poured around $1 trillion into its projects so far. Beijing last month said that, over the years, it signed BRI cooperation documents with more than 150 countries and more than 30 international organizations.

However, the plan has faced problems, including funding shortfalls and some political pushback, which have stalled certain projects. China has pushed back on assertions of risky lending when it comes to BRI, saying “such allegations do not reflect the whole picture.”

Biden last month called China’s BRI a “debt and noose agreement,” which the US and Group of Seven (G7) nations hope to counter with alternatives.

“We got together literally billions of dollars in the G7 nations to provide for alternatives to China’s – what they call Belt and Road Initiative, which is basically a debt and noose agreement that they have,” Biden told donors in August at a campaign reception in Salt Lake City, Utah.

But on Sunday, Biden said he was “sincere” about improving the US-China relationship, pushing back against comments out of Beijing that the president’s trip to India and Vietnam seemed focused on containing China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.