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China-MENA Podcast May 14, 2024

The View from New Delhi: Can IMEC Rival China’s Belt and Road?

By Atlantic Council


Key takeaways

  • India, Middle East, Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC)
  • India’s Strategic Interests in the Middle East
  • Regional Dynamics and Diplomatic Engagements


00:00 – Introduction

01:39 – Geopolitical and Geoeconomic Considerations

03:16 – Challenges and Ongoing Interest

07:17 – IMEC’s Focus on Technology in Transportation

11:28 – Economic Growth in the Gulf Linked to India

14:11 – Growing Strategic Relationships in UAE, Saudi Arabia

17:55 – Exploring Potential Funding Sources

19:11 – Positive Momentum in the Region

25:12 – India’s Role in Global Supply Chains

29:51 – Risk Distribution and US-China Contest

31:11 – Outro

In this episode

Ambassador Navdeep Suri
Visiting Fellow
Observer Research Foundation

Ambassador Suri has had a 36-year career in the Indian Foreign Service. He served in India’s diplomatic missions in Cairo, Damascus, Washington, Dar es Salaam, and London. He was India’s Consul General in Johannesburg, High Commissioner to Australia, and Ambassador to Egypt and the UAE. He also headed the West Africa and Public Diplomacy departments in India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

Kabir Taneja
Fellow, Strategic Studies Programme
Observer Research Foundation

Kabir Taneja is a Fellow with the Strategic Studies programme. His research focuses on India’s relations with West Asia, specifically on the domestic political dynamics, terrorism, non-state militant actors, and the general security paradigm of the region.


In this episode of the China-MENA podcast titled “The View from New Delhi: Can IMEC rival China’s Belt and Road?”, our host Jonathan Fulton and guests Ambassador Navdeep Suri and expert Kabir Taneja explore the India, Middle East, Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and how it may rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We unravel India’s significant strategic interests in the Middle East and how the region perceives India’s expanded role in driving economic prosperity and enhancing regional security. Dive deeper into:

  • Beyond Ports: IMEC aims to establish an economic corridor focused on the future, not just connecting ports but also integrating renewable energy grids, green hydrogen, and secure data connectivity.
  • India’s Strategic Interests in the Middle East: India seeks to reinvigorate its historical ties with the region, capitalizing on its rapid economic growth and the perception of India as a future economic powerhouse. Additionally, India is increasingly seen as a security contributor in the region.
  • Regional Dynamics and Diplomatic Engagements: Despite challenges like the recent conflict in Gaza, there is continued interest from key players in IMEC. The project is seen as a way to move beyond regional tensions and promote prosperity through better connectivity.

Join us for an enlightening conversation that bridges continents and cultures on the China MENA podcast.

Read more: India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor: Towards a New Discourse in Global Connectivity

Hosted by

IMEC propels us towards future-proof economies, blending technology and energy integration

Navdeep Suri

The geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East offer both a landscape of opportunities and a complex set of challenges for India

Kabir Taneja

About the China-MENA podcast

The China-MENA podcast features conversations with academics, think-tankers, and regional specialists on Chinese Influence in the Middle East and informs US and MENA audiences in the policy and business communities about the nature of China’s outreach to the region.

At a time when China’s global footprint is getting deeper and deeper, it has never been more important to understand its foreign policy and the Middle East is one of the world’s most consequential regions: home to major religions, diverse cultural and social heritage, central to global energy markets, and of course, geopolitics, linking people and markets in Asia, Africa and Europe.  This show will help you understand what China is doing in the region, and how the region is engaging with China as an increasingly important external power.

Podcast series

Listen to the latest episode of the China-MENA podcast, featuring conversations with academics, government leaders, and the policy community on China’s role in the Middle East.

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This podcast was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

Image: UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for a photograph during an official visit reception at Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, July 15, 2023. Hamad Al Kaabi/UAE Presidential Court/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.