Traveling to Hejaz to Close the Silk Road

Parisa Pasandepour
6 Min Read
Traveling to Hejaz to Close the Silk Road
Diplomatic handshake between leaders from India and Saudi Arabia with flag-painted hands. Image: iStock

Traveling to Hijaz to close the Silk Road

Middle East Railway Project

According to Iran Gate America, Saudi Arabia and India are planning to build a railway and maritime network as an alternative to China’s Silk Road.

According to Axios, Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor to the US President, met with his Saudi and Indian counterparts to discuss the project of creating a railway and maritime network that would connect the Middle East and Asia.

On Monday, May 7th, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and India exchanged views on a project to connect the Persian Gulf and Arab countries to India through the construction of a new railway and maritime network. This project is one of the key initiatives that the White House wants to pursue simultaneously with China’s increasing influence in the Middle East.

According to Axios, one of the main topics of discussion between Jake Sullivan and Saudi officials was to request their participation in the construction of this national railway project between the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and the US regional allies. The goal is to connect this railway network from the region’s ports to Indian ports.

According to the planned agenda, Jake Sullivan met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and several other Saudi officials during this trip. They discussed the current relations between Washington and Riyadh, as well as the possibility of normalizing Saudi Arabia’s relations with Israel.

According to a claim made by Axios newspaper, this plan and program have actually been organized with the aim of countering China’s increasing influence in the Middle East. This influence began with the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the Silk Road, by China. Axios reports that the idea of ​​building strategic infrastructure in the Middle East emerged during meetings that have taken place over the past 18 months in a forum called I2U2.

I2U2 is a group composed of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The group’s first joint statement, released on July 14, 2022, states that these countries intend to collaborate on joint investments and new initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security. I2U2’s main focus is on economic growth and commercial enhancement, unlike the Quad, which is based on defense and security.

Israel proposed the idea of connecting the region through a railway during the I2U2 sessions last year. This former Israeli official stated that part of the idea involved utilizing India’s expertise in such major infrastructure projects.

After some time, the US government decided to invite Riyadh to cooperate in this project, arguing that including Saudi Arabia in this vital group is crucial as it can ensure long-term peace and stability in West Asia.

During a speech at the Near East Policy Institute in Washington, Jake Sullivan referred to this project and emphasized how further integration between the Middle East and the United States will help strengthen economic technology and diplomacy. He also mentioned that some projects are already underway, and exciting new steps that we eagerly await will take place in the coming months.

Sullivan said in his speech that one of the pillars of the Biden administration’s strategy in the Middle East is regional integration. He further added that a more integrated and interconnected Middle East makes our allies and partners stronger, promotes peace and prosperity in the region, and reduces America’s long-term resource demands in the region without compromising our core interests or presence there.

Ultimately, it could be argued that the whole operation should actually confront the economic and political expansion of Beijing. An Israeli official said in an interview with Axios that no one openly says this, but it has been talked about since day one regarding China.

Israel is currently not part of this initiative, but if efforts to normalize relations in the region progress, it could be added in the future.


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Master's Degree in International Relations from the Faculty of Diplomatic Sciences and International Relations, Genoa, Italy.