Biden, Lapid participate in first-ever ‘I2U2’ forum with leaders of India, UAE

“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.”

By JNS

U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday participated virtually from Jerusalem in the first-ever meeting of the “I2U2” group, together with the leaders of India and the United Arab Emirates.

The ‘I’ in I2U2 stands for India and Israel, the ‘U’ for the U.S. and UAE.

“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 White House said in a statement.

The statement also reaffirmed the four countries’ collective commitment to the Abraham Accords and other peace and normalization arrangements between the Jewish state and Arab nations.

During his opening remarks, Lapid said that “each of our countries brings different challenges and qualities to the table,” adding that in this century, challenges are no longer local but global. Global food insecurity was going to be the main issue in the near future in Latin America, Africa, East Asia and the Middle East, he said, and the development of a food corridor between India and the United Arab Emirates was an example of a creative solution to the problem.

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The forum is looking for “real solutions for how to put together brainpower, knowledge and resources on the same table,” he said. “This is not a philanthropic group. We are going to change the world for the better but create advantages for our countries, businesses and the science sector,” he added.

For his part, Biden said that no one country could mount a comprehensive response on its own.

“Our nations represent some of the most innovative and technological people on the planet, and at every step we should be asking what we can achieve together,” he said.

Thursday’s inaugural I2U2 meeting focused on the food security crisis and clean energy, with the leaders discussing innovative ways to ensure longer-term, more diversified food production and food delivery systems that can better manage global food shocks.

To this end, some $2.5 billion in projects were announced, marking “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,” according to the leaders in their joint statement.