‘Chabahar Day’ observed to promote Chabahar – Link to INSTC
5th Aug, 2022
The Ministry of Port, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) on July 31st observed ‘Chabahar Day’ in Mumbai to mark the Chabahar – Link to International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) – Connecting Central Asian Markets.
- India’s vision: To make Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar a transit hub and linking it to INSTC to reach out to Central Asian Countries.
- INSTC (International North-South Transport Corridor) is India’s vision and initiative to reduce the time taken for EXIM shipments to reach Russia, Europe, and enter the central Asian markets.
- The Chabahar Port is a key pillar of India’s India-Pacific vision to connect Eurasia with the Indian Ocean Region.
- The Chabahar Port located in Iran is the commercial transit center for the region and especially Central Asia.
- The port will also be part International North-South Transport Corridor network connecting India.
- Notably, the first rail transit cargo from Russia to India entered Iran recently through the Sarakhs border crossing, marking the official launch of the eastern section of the North-South railway corridor.
International North-South Transport Corridor:
- International North-South Transport Corridor is a corridor to increase trade between India and Russia.
- This trade route is 7200 Km long and the transport of freight is through a multi-mode network of roads, ships, and railways.
- This route connects India and Russia through Iran and Azerbaijan.
- The corridor is aimed at reducing the carriage cost between India and Russia by about 30 per cent and bringing down the transit time from 40 days by more than half.
- Russia, India, and Iran are the founding member states of INSTC.
- The agreement was signed in 2002.
- There are 13 member states of the INSTC project – India, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Oman, Turkey, Syria and Ukraine.
- Bulgaria is the Observer State. The Baltic countries like Latvia and Estonia have also expressed willingness to join the INSTC.
- India shows interest in extending INSTC membership to countries like Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
- Establishing a land route via Kabul and Tashkent to form the INSTC’s “Eastern corridor” would maximise the potential of this collaboration.
- Also, India wants to include Chabahar port to be included in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
- Central Asia is a landlocked region, which is located in the heart of Asia. It forms a part of India’s extended neighbourhood.
- The region is composed of the 5 post-soviet countries:
- The countries are also known as 5 “Stans” due to the same ending in their names.
- It is bounded on the north by Russia and on the south by Iran, Afghanistan, and China.
Why Central Asia assumes significance for India?
- Geo-strategic location: Its geographical proximity, strategic location, and historical linkages make it an important partner for New Delhi.
- Energy hub: Central Asia has an abundance of oil and gas deposits. The region contains vast hydrocarbon fields both on-shore and off-shore in the Caspian Sea which homes around 4 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves and approximately 3 percent of oil reserves.
- Gas (Turkmenistan)
- Oil, gas and uranium (Kazakhstan)
- Uranium and gas (Uzbekistan)
- Hydropower (Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan)
- Global power hub: Strategically, Central Asia is emerging as the next high-stakes competition ground for global powers, hence, it would behoove India to pay closer attention.
- Leading role: Central Asia provides India with the right platform to leverage its political, economic, and cultural connections to play a leading role in Eurasia.
- Significant transportation hub: The region is a major transportation hub for gas and oil pipelines and multi-modal corridors connecting China, Russia, Europe, and the IOR.