North-South corridor ‘vital link’ between Iran, Russia, CIS nations – Indian official

Business Materials 15 July 2018 10:12 (UTC +04:00)

Tehran, Iran, July 15

By Kamyar Eghbalnejad, A. Shirazi - Trend

An official with Indian embassy in Tehran described the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) as a “vital link” between Iran, Russia and the nations of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

“The International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a very vital link for the promotion of trade and economic relations between the important countries of the CIS, the Islamic Republic of Iran and also Russian Federation,” Aftab Ahmed Khan told Trend on July 15.

The Indian diplomat added, “the INSTC provides a great access connecting the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf. And through the fantastic network which has been made possible by an excellent road connectivity and also the rail connectivity between the port of Astara and thereon to the regions of Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, and the other countries of the CIS, it is a great opportunity.”

The INSTC – which has an estimated cargo capacity of 20-30 million tons of goods per year - is expected to provide faster and more efficient trade connectivity between Europe and Southeast Asia.

Dry runs of the route were conducted in 2014, from Mumbai to Baku and Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas. Results showed transport costs will be 30 percent cheaper and transportation period will be 40 percent shorter than the existing routes.

The INSTC will be India’s second corridor after the Chabahar Port to access resource rich Central Asia and its market.

The launch of Chabahar Port - whose Phase 1 was inaugurated in December 2017- coupled with INSTC will be a game changer for India’s strategic and economic goals in the Eurasian region.

INSTC could get linked to the Chabahar Port besides Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.

India also hopes that INSTC would be connected with various other connectivity projects that the five Central Asian and other Eurasian countries have undertaken among themselves.