Bepi Pezzulli
International counsel & foreign policy adviser

Israel: Key Link in UK-India Bridge

In the evolving landscape of global economic diplomacy, amidst the talks surrounding the UK-India Infrastructure Financing Bridge, there is a pivotal yet overlooked player: Israel. Positioned at the crossroads of continents, cultures, and geopolitical interests, Israel holds the potential to serve as the linchpin in this transformative initiative, elevating its strategic significance on the world stage.

The UK-India Infrastructure Financing Bridge initiative, spearheaded by the City of London Corporation (the governing body of the Square Mile) and  NITI Aayog (India’s stretegic planning agency), seeks to revitalize an historical trade route and bolster infrastructure connectivity between key regions. As the project aims to bridge the economic divide between East and West, Israel emerges as a crucial junction along this path, offering a gateway to the Mediterranean and beyond.

Geopolitical Chess: Israel’s Strategic Positioning.  In the chess game of geopolitics, Israel occupies a unique position as the pivot between Europe, Asia, and Africa. Its strategic location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean places it at the nexus of major trade routes, including the ancient Cotton Route. With its advanced infrastructure, technological prowess, and burgeoning economy, Israel stands poised to capitalize on its strategic positioning to become a keystone in the UK-India Infrastructure Bridge initiative.

As the initiative seeks to connect India with Gulf countries and beyond, Israel’s well-developed ports, robust transportation networks, and expertise in security and technology offer valuable assets. By serving as a conduit for trade and investment flows between East and West, Israel can play a the key role in facilitating the success of the Financing Bridge and cementing its status as a key power in the global economy.

Moreover, Israel’s geopolitical significance extends beyond its role as a transit hub. As tensions simmer in the Middle East and competition for influence intensifies, Israel’s stable and innovative economy offers a beacon of opportunity amidst uncertainty. By forging closer economic ties with both the UK and India, Israel can strengthen its strategic partnerships and position itself as a hub of innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment in the region.

The Israel-UK-India Nexus: A Tripartite Alliance. The convergence of interests between Israel, the UK, and India presents a unique opportunity to forge a tripartite alliance centered around the UK-India Infrastructure Financing Bridge initiative. As the UK seeks to reassert its global influence post-Brexit and India strives to accelerate its economic growth, Israel stands to benefit from deeper engagement with both partners.

For the UK, leveraging Israel’s expertise in technology, security, and innovation can enhance the success of the Financing Bridge and bolster its position as a global financial hub. Israel’s thriving startup ecosystem, renowned for its cutting-edge advancements in areas such as cybersecurity, renewable energy, and artificial intelligence, offers immense potential for collaboration and investment.

Similarly, India stands to gain from closer ties with Israel, particularly in sectors such as agriculture, water management, and defense. Israel’s experience in addressing challenges related to water scarcity, agricultural productivity, and national security aligns closely with India’s development priorities, presenting opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships and knowledge exchange.

Furthermore, this ambitious undertaking expands on the Abraham Accords. The UK pursues connections between India and Gulf countries, extending further to Israel, through a comprehensive network of railways and maritime ports. The project seeks to enhance commercial and energy flows from South Asia to the Persian Gulf and from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, ultimately culminating in Europe. Both Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter, and the United Arab Emirates, the financial nucleus of the Middle East, have long sought to safeguard their commercial and energy routes from potential disruptions. The Cotton Route serves their purpose well.

Pivot to the Cotton Route. In the grand narrative of the UK-India Infrastructure Financing Bridge initiative, Israel may emerge as the keystone of the Cotton Route, the missing link that connects East and West. With its strategic positioning, advanced infrastructure, and innovative economy, Israel has the potential to play a transformative role in shaping the future of global trade and investment.

As the initiative unfolds, policymakers and stakeholders must recognize the strategic importance of Israel and work collaboratively to harness its full potential. By leveraging Israel’s strengths and fostering closer ties between the UK, India, and Israel, the Cotton Route can become a symbol of economic cooperation, innovation, prosperity, and global security in the 21st century.

About the Author
Giuseppe Levi Pezzulli ("Bepi") is a Solicitor specialised in International financial law and a foreign policy scholar. His research interest is economic statecraft. In 2018, he published "An alternative view of Brexit" (Milano Finanza Books), which investigates the economic and geopolitical implications of Brexit. In 2023, "Brave bucks" (Armando Publishing House), which highlights the role of private capital in the industrial policy mix. Formerly an Editor-in-Chief of La Voce Repubblicana; is a columnist for the Italian daily financial newspaper Milano Finanza; a pundit for the financial TV channel CNBC; and a Middle East analyst for Longitude magazine. He received degrees at Luiss Guido Carli in Rome (LLB), New York University (LLM), and Columbia University (JD).
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