Dubai (PTI): An inter-ministerial Indian delegation on the framework agreement on the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC) has visited the UAE for the first time to hold discussions with the key entities there on cooperation for the empowerment and operation of the strategically vital project.

The visit, which took place within three months of signing the Agreement, reflects the importance both governments attach to the IMEEC project, a press statement by the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi said.

The Corridor will provide effective alternate supply routes generating efficiencies and reducing costs. Both sides agreed to continue discussions for early implementation of the Agreement, it said.

"India Middle East Europe Corridor (IMEEC) takes shape with the 1st visit of an Indian Inter-Ministerial Delegation to the UAE for the India-UAE Intergovernmental Framework Agreement on IMEEC. Amb @sunjaysudhir led the discussions with key UAE entities like @DPWorldUAE, @ADPortsGroup @CUSTOMSUAE," the Indian mission posted on X.

The IMEEC will comprise two separate corridors, the east corridor connecting India to the Gulf and the northern corridor connecting the Gulf to Europe.

The corridor will provide a reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network to supplement existing maritime routes. It intends to increase efficiency, reduce costs, secure regional supply chains, increase trade accessibility, enhance economic cooperation, generate jobs and lower greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in a transformative integration of Asia, Europe and the Middle East (West Asia).

The IMEC corridor, which aims at integration of Asia, Europe and the Middle East involves multiple stakeholders and is at an incipient stage, the Ministry of External Affairs said in February this year.

The visit by the Indian delegation to hold meetings under the Framework Agreement between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) concerning cooperation for the empowerment and operation of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC) to the UAE took place from May 15 to 17, the statement said.

The Framework Agreement was signed between India and the UAE on February 13 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the UAE Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.

The Agreement provides for cooperation towards developing the IMEEC and exploring potential joint investment and technical collaboration towards this objective.

The Indian delegation comprised senior officials from the Ministry of Shipping, Ports & Waterways, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Central Board of Excise and Customs and Deendayal Upadhyay Port, Kandla. They visited Khalifa Port, Fujairah Port and Jebel Ali Port where they held detailed discussions with the respective Port authorities for facilitating the movement of goods between India and the UAE and beyond.

They also held meetings with UAE Customs Authorities.

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New Delhi (PTI): Union minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday led the ruling National Democratic Alliance's efforts in reaching out to opposition parties to build a consensus on the choice for the Lok Sabha Speaker.

The NDA candidate for the key parliamentary position will file his nomination on Tuesday, the day scheduled for the process.

Sources said the senior BJP leader spoke to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, and DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Stalin among other opposition leaders in efforts to build a consensus.

They said that nomination could be filed for the deputy speaker's position too, but added it will depend on various factors, including the opposition's stand.