Expert: North-South project important and highly beneficial

Commentary Materials 14 August 2017 16:26 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 14

By Kamila Aliyeva – Trend:

The International North-South Transport Corridor is an important and highly beneficial project as it would increase the possibilities of trade and economic integration for the region, Kamran Dadkhah, an associate professor with the Department of Economics at Northeastern University, told Trend.

“Thus, the hope is that it will be implemented, although there are some obstacles in the way of the project,” he said.

The expert firstly noted that the corridor requires substantial investment and the question about who and to what extent would foot the bill remains in place.

The problem is that not all countries involved would benefit equally, according to Dadkhah.

“For instance, the project benefits India and Russia greatly. It also has many benefits for land-locked countries of Central Asia. On the other hand, Iran, which is a pivotal part of the corridor, would not benefit as greatly as others. Iran has access to ports that can transport its oil to India and East Asia, while it can get its imports via the same route or through Turkey,” he said.

Therefore, Dadkhah considers it to be natural for India and Russia to pay the main part of the cost, although a part of the line will be built in Iran.

“Another problem is the insecurity of the region. India has an option of sending goods through Afghanistan, but then who guarantees the safety. In addition, other adjacent areas, including Iraq and Syria are involved in conflicts that could easily spell over to neighboring areas,” he added.

“When all these issues are considered, it is not surprising that such a beneficial project has taken so long to implement and at times it seems to have been stalled,” added the expert.

“I believe that the project will continue, but its pace will be slow. It is up to India and Russia to provide the financing and at the same time make it clear that there are no hidden motives,” he concluded.

The International North-South Transport Corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.

The corridor is planned to transport 6 million tons of cargo per year at the initial stage and 15-20 million tons of cargo in the future.