Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The United States, the European Union and seven other countries on Saturday announced the formation of a wide-spanning rail and shipping corridor linking India, the Middle East and Europe.
U.S. President Joe Biden signed the deal while with leaders from India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany and Italy as well as the EU, while attending the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi, India.
The agreement will see the signatories connect India to countries in the Middle East and then Eastern Europe using a system of ports, shipping routes and rail corridors.
Analysts see the initiative as an effort aimed at containing China's influence in the Middle East.
Biden called the deal "a game-changing regional investment" at an event Saturday to make the joint announcement, where he thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The leaders did not put a timeline on the so-called India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, but a Biden spokesperson said the leaders would meet to discuss the project within 60 days.
"It is a green and digital bridge across continents and civilizations," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Saturday.
The link will increase the speed of trade between India and Europe by 40%, according to von der Leyen.
Ports in Israel and Jordan will also play a key role in the project.
"We aim to usher in a new era of connectivity with a railway, linked through ports connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Asia," the White House said in a statement.
The new corridor will emphasize the development and export of clean energy and will include the laying of undersea cables and linking of energy grids and telecommunication lines, its backers say.
The intent is to "expand reliable access to electricity; enable innovation of advanced clean energy technology; and connect communities to secure and stable Internet."
American officials denied the move amounts to a bid to compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative, under which Beijing has financed and constructed transportation routes spanning across Asia, Europe and Africa.