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Operationalization of INSTC to increase efficiency between Indo-Russian trade

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Days after the Iranian Foreign Minister visited New Delhi, the three nations of India, Iran, and Russia have given momentum to operationalize the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) – the shortest connectivity route for Indo-Russian trade. 

Recently, Russia sent a consignment for India through INSTC which is considered one of the most viable options for Indo-Russian trade amid current geopolitical challenges. 

The INSTC reduces the time taken for trade between India and Russia, and is considered to be an alternative to the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea dominated by some powers and Bosporus, in the longer run, said sources who did not wish to be identified.

Topping the agenda of the Iranian foreign minister’s visit to India was connectivity via Chabahar Port and INSTC. There has been a plan to link INSTC with Chabahar Port which India has assisted in expanding and is being used for connectivity with Afghanistan and Central Asia.

INSTC – a 7,200 km-long multimodal transportation network encompassing sea, road, and rail routes, links the Indian Ocean to the Caspian Sea via the Persian Gulf onwards into Russia and Northern Europe and offers the shortest connectivity route between them. 

The multimodal routes through sea, rail, and road under the INSTC looks to reduce the carriage cost between India and Russia by about 30% and bring down the transit time from 40 days by more than half.

The foundation of the North-South transport corridor was laid on September 12, 2000, by an intergovernmental agreement signed between Russia, Iran, and India. Azerbaijan joined this agreement in 2005. 

13 countries including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Armenia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Ukraine ratified the agreement. The project has several components –– Northern and Western Europe –– the Russian Federation, Caucasus –– Persian Gulf (Western route); Central Asia –– Persian Gulf (Eastern Route); the Caspian Sea –– Iran Persian Gulf (Central Route).

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