International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) - Russia, India and Iran

Discussion in 'Central & South Asia' started by Indx-techs, Apr 1, 2017.

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  1. Indx-techs

    Indx-techs Captain

    Dec 12, 2016
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    International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), is a multi modal transportation established in 12 SEP 2000 in St. Petersburg, by Iran, Russia and India for the purpose of promoting transportation cooperation among the Member States. This corridor connects India Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Islamic republic of IRAN, then is connected to St. Petersburg and North European via Russian Federation.

    The INSTC was expanded to include eleven new members, namely: Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Armenia, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Ukraine, Republic of Belarus, Oman, Syria, Bulgaria (Observer).
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    Indx-techs Captain

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    Cabinet approves India's accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention)
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    Delhi March 6, 2017 Last Updated at 00:20 IST

    [​IMG][​IMG] Cabinet approves India's accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention)

    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for India's accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) and for completion of necessary procedures for ratification, for its entry into force.

    The Convention will help Indian traders to have access to fast, easy, reliable and hassle free international system for movement of goods by road or multi- modal means across the territories of other contracting parties.

    By joining the convention, the need for inspection of goods at intermediate borders as well as physical escorts en route shall be obviated due to reciprocal recognition of Customs controls. Customs clearance can take place at internal Customs locations thereby avoiding clearances at Border Crossing Points and ports that may often be congested. Movement under the TIR can be allowed by checking only the seals and the external conditions of the load compartment or the container thereby reducing border delays, transport and transaction costs thereby leading to increased competitiveness and growth for the trade and transport sectors.

    Compliance with the Convention shall ensure enhanced security in the supply chain as only approved transporters and vehicles are allowed to operate in terms of the Convention. As the TIR Carnet represents a guarantee for Customs duties and taxes and traffic in transit, there is no need for payment of such taxes and duties en route. The TIR carnet also serves as a Customs declaration, and hence it precludes the need to file multiple declarations satisfying national laws of the different transiting countries. The TIR Convention can be an instrument for movement of goods along the International "North-South" Transport (INSTC) Corridor and would be helpful in boosting trade with the Central Asian Republics and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), particularly using ports in Iran like the Chabahar port.

    The proposal does not result in any direct financial implication for the Government of India as it pertains to India's accession to an international convention.


    The Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets, 1975 (TIR Convention), is an international transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to facilitate the seamless movement of goods within and amongst the Parties to the Convention. At present there are 70 parties to the Convention, including the European Union.

    (This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

    India And Tajikistan Ties: Partners In Development – Analysis

    Locations of India and Tajikistan. Source: Wikipedia Commons.
    Locations of India and Tajikistan. Source: Wikipedia Commons.
    By Chayanika Saxena*

    The ties between India and Tajikistan overall have been marked by cooperation, cordiality and closeness. The relations between the two countries thrive on a mutual understanding of the relevance of each other. Economically, where a resource-rich Tajikistan provides the burgeoning markets and manufacturing hubs in India access to energy and minerals, Tajikistan sees in India an able partner that can assist in developing its information technology, education and agrarian sectors. Strategically, there has been a history of cooperation between the two countries – spanning from the signing of bilateral defence cooperation agreement as far back as in 2002 to the elevation of their association to the level of ‘strategic partnership’ in 2012.

    India and Tajikistan endeavor to further solidify their ties as they recognize that economic cooperation and their strategic congruence on vital issues can lead the way.

    Economic Cooperation

    Bilateral trade between India with Tajikistan is not at any significant level and much below its potential. One of the biggest dampeners to their economic engagement is lack of direct access. While Tajikistan majorly imports India’s pharmaceutical products, the Indian imports from Tajikistan have included cotton, aluminum and other minerals.

    Working towards improving connectivity between India and Tajikistan, the two countries are currently looking at trans-national, regional initiatives for the same. For instance, Tajikistan has reiterated its support for the India-led the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) The development of Chabahar port by India in Iran, as the port-head to a web of rail and road links through Afghanistan, is also being touted as alternative route that will provide India access to Central Asian Republics, including Tajikistan.

    Furthermore, both the countries have recognized that the proposed Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement (PATTTTA) would be central to facilitation of trade between Tajikistan and the countries of the South Asian region.

    Cooperation in health sector is another facet of engagement for India and Tajikistan. Given the growing number of people from Tajikistan visiting India for medical treatment, the countries have agreed to expand cooperation in the field of health. Tajikistan has welcomed India’s proposal to implement a tele-medicine project in Tajikistan by connecting reputed multi-specialty hospitals in India with hospitals in Dushanbe and other regions of Tajikistan for offering medical consultation and education.

    India had also provided two million doses of oral polio vaccine through UNICEF in November 2010 to assist Tajikistan in managing a massive polio outbreak in the country. Giving the medical services in Tajikistan a shot in the arm, the Government of India gifted a high-quality ambulance to the Governor of Khorog city of the Gorno-Badakshan autonomous Region (Pamirs) in 2013. Added to which, India in September 2015, granted USD 100,000 in humanitarian assistance to Tajikistan for providing relief to the flood and mudslide-affected people of GBAO and Rasht valley in response to Tajikistan’s appeal for international humanitarian aid.

    Strategic Cooperation: Defence and Security

    Tajikistan’s importance for India lies in its geo-strategic location. Sharing its borders with China, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan is located in proximity to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (Azad Kashmir). Apart from providing access to other Central Asian countries, Tajikistan assumes a significant place, especially in the context of India’s security equations involving Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has been reported that during the Afghan Civil War and the era of Taliban, India along with its Russian, Iranian and Uzbek allies had maintained its presence in Tajikistan to support the Ahmad Shah Massoud-led Northern Alliance. In fact, India is among the only four countries that operates a joint military base (with Tajik Air Force) (Farkhor) in Tajikistan.

    Given the rising threat of the Islamic State in Central and South Asian regions, combined with problems associated with terror financing through narcotics, India and Tajikistan find their strategic and security priorities converge to tackle these concerns. Infiltration of extremists into their national borders due to the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan is commonly perceived as a major threat to domestic security and the stability of their shared neighborhood.

    Dealing with the menace of terrorism, India and Tajikistan have decided to reinvigorate official-level interactions in the framework of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter Terrorism for strengthening cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The two countries have emphasized the need for continued cooperation between their security agencies, including information sharing mechanisms to counter the growing menace of extremism and terrorism. Both sides further emphasized the need for adoption of the “Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism” by the UN General Assembly.

    On the defence front, India, as part of its bilateral defence cooperation agreement of 2002, has helped Tajikistan in refurbishing the Ayni airport near Dushanbe which is fully operational now. Assisting it in the re-operationalization of the air base, India’s Border Roads Organization in 2007 spent USD 70 million restoring Ayni, lengthening its runway to 1.9 miles, and building hangars including three hardened shelters, an air traffic control tower and perimeter fencing . Having brought it back into action, India has upped its efforts to secure the lease for this base given its strategic location; a task that has proven to be a tough call to this date due to Tajikistan’s reluctance in the face of Russian disapproval and rivaling Chinese investments.

    India’s defence cooperation has not been restricted to material support alone. Capacity and institutional building of the armed forces of Tajikistan has been another area of cooperation. For instance, in 2003, New Delhi conducted its first Central Asian military exercise with Tajikistan. India’s donations to the Tajik defense ministry have included two Mi-8 helicopters along with critical spare parts, trucks and other vehicles, about 10,000 uniforms, and computers. In addition, hundreds of Tajik military cadets and officers have been trained at India’s National Defence Academy since 1998. India also funded the refurbishment of the Tajik Military Institute in Dushanbe. The cost of training Tajik military personnel is borne by India.

    India and Tajikistan have cooperated on various multilateral platforms, including the United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, where Tajikistan’s has extended its support to India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations, it has also echoed India’s concerns on Afghan peace process. India and Tajikistan have maintained that the Afghan peace process has to be Afghan led, owned and controlled to bring about any sustainable improvements in its security situation.

    As India reaches out to the Central Asian Republics for projecting its economic and strategic power, the increasing presence of the Chinese in the region will certainly leave an impact on India’s ambitions there. China’s increasing involvement in Tajikistan, courtesy its geographical proximity and the geo-strategically ambitious project of ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR)’, is being seen as a potential factor that could swing away Central Asia from the Indian influence in a considerable way. Furthermore, the partaking of benefits of this cooperation between China and Central Asia by Pakistan has India concerned.

    As OBOR still remains a work in progress, in the short and medium term, India must combine its increasing investments with careful soft power recalibration to keep these nascent democracies and republics on path of mutual cooperation and development.

    *Chayanika Saxena is a Research Associate at Society for Policy Studies.

    Railroad Connecting Iran, Azerbaijan Comes into Operation
    News ID: 1346462 Service: Politics
    March, 05, 2017 - 16:03
    قطار آستارا
    TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A railroad connecting Iran’s northern city of Astara to its namesake in the Azerbaijan Republic was tested and put into operation temporarily.

    The railroad, which is part of the Rasht-Astara railroad project, became operational concurrent with an official visit of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to Iran on Sunday.

    Heading a high-ranking delegation, Aliyev arrived in Tehran on Sunday morning to hold talks with senior Iranian officials on topics of mutual interest.

    At a meeting in Baku on July 3, 2016, officials from Iran, Russia, and Azerbaijan exchanged views on the cost of building the crucial rail link project, which envisages connecting Iran’s northern city of Rasht with Azerbaijan’s Astara.

    The three sides also studied the possibility of Russia’s participation in financing the project.

    The budget for completion of Rasht-Astara railroad project is estimated at $1.1 billion, part of which will be supplied by the $500 million loan from Azeri banks.

    The entire project constitutes part of the north-south corridor.

    The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a multipurpose route for the transit of goods between Iran, Russia, Europe, India and Central Asia via shipping lines, railroad and land routes.

    A completed section of the Astara-Astara railroad was tested late Friday after a train set off on a maiden journey from Azerbaijan to Iran’s border.
    1. Domestic Economy
    Thursday, March 09, 2017
    Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan Agree on 50% Cut in Transit Tariffs
    The agreement was reached in a trilateral meeting on Tuesday in Moscow, where rail officials from the three countries discussed ways to facilitate activation process for the INSTC project

    Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan have agreed to reduce tariffs on interstate cargo transit by 50% as part of efforts to activate the International North-South Transport Corridor, which aims to connect India to Europe.

    The agreement was reached in a trilateral meeting on Tuesday in Moscow where rail officials from the three countries discussed ways of activating the INSTC project.

    The major transit route is designed to facilitate the transportation of goods from Mumbai to Helsinki, using Iranian ports and railroads, which the Islamic Republic plans to connect to those of Azerbaijan and Russia.

    An official with the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, Hossein Ashouri, was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency that all sides hope to activate the corridor later in 2017.

    IRIR is currently building a railroad from the Iranian Caspian port city of Astara to the border with Azerbaijan, from where it will be extended to another city also named Astara in Azerbaijan.

    A completed section of the railroad was tested late Friday after a train set off on a maiden journey from Azerbaijan’s Astara. The train travelled 8 kilometers to the border from where it entered the Iranian section of the route.

    Younes Ranjkesh, governor of the northeastern Iranian port, said last week that Iran has started laying tracks on the Iranian section, adding that in the first phase, track-laying for 0.6 kilometers will be carried out.

    The Astara-Astara project includes a bridge on Astarachay River stretching along the border, which was built by Azerbaijan.

    Ashouri said the 2-km-long Iranian section will be completed in two months, adding that Iran’s collaboration with the neighboring country in constructing the rail link indicates the two sides’ strong determination to activate the international route.

    Soon after the border project is complete, Tehran and Baku will start work on its extension to the city of Rasht in northern Gilan Province.

    Azerbaijan has agreed to invest $500 million to build the railroad that is one of the main links in INSTC.

    Another missing link is a route from Qazvin to Rasht. The construction of this section is in the final stage. The route includes Iran’s biggest rail bridge with a length of 1.43 km on Sefidroud river in the city of Manjil in Gilan Province.

    “The Qazvin-Rasht route will become operational in three months at most,” Ashouri said, adding that Iran will then be ready to activate the INSTC.

    Despite a missing rail link from Rasht to Astara, the Islamic Republic will use a multimodal transport system from its southern ports to Astara until the incomplete rail connection is added to the pathway.

    The INSTC will connect Iran with Russia’s Baltic ports and give Russia rail connectivity to both the Persian Gulf and the Indian rail network.

    This means goods could be carried from Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and further to Baku. They could then pass across the Russian border into Astrakhan before proceeding to Moscow and St. Petersburg, before proceeding toward Europe.

    The corridor would substantially cut the travel time for everything from Asian consumer goods to Central Eurasia’s natural resources to advanced European exports.

    When completed, the INSTC is expected to increase the volume of commodities currently traded between Iran and Azerbaijan from 600,000 tons to 5 million tons per year, dramatically increasing bilateral trade from the current $500 million per year.

    Economy, Domestic Economy
    Thursday, March 16, 2017
    INSTC Could Undermine Suez Canal’s Importance

    Iran and Azerbaijan inaugurated a short railroad in early March with far-reaching implications.

    A mere 10 km long, the new link is one of the missing final pieces of a 17-year effort called the International North-South Transport Corridor, which aims to connect Russia, Iran and India. Slated for completion later this year, the corridor could affect economic patterns not only along the route, but also between Europe and Asia.

    After more than a decade of delays, many factors are driving the project forward. Changes in international sanctions have made the project more feasible for Iran and more valuable for Russia.

    Since international sanctions on Iran were lifted in January 2016, the country has attracted foreign investment and expertise to expand its railroad network. Conversely, Russia’s decision to block food imports from the European Union has increased the value of expanding economic ties with India, a major agricultural producer, reads an article in The Nikkei—a publication of the world’s largest financial newspaper.

    The emergence of other regional transportation projects has also provided momentum. Under its One Belt, One Road Initiative, China has proposed a number of new overland and maritime route corridors. Far from undercutting INSTC, some of these proposed connections would make it even more feasible.

    By participating in both efforts, Azerbaijan and Iran are seeking to establish themselves as regional hubs between Asia and Europe. Leaders from across Asia are now competing to tap into these emerging transport networks.

    Reflecting this trend, INSTC has received increased high-level attention from Moscow to Mumbai.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the initiative a “flagship project”, and it topped the agenda of a trilateral summit attended by Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran last summer.

    Likewise, Indian President Narendra Modi discussed the project in meetings with the Russian and Iranian presidents last year. Since the effort was launched in 2000, the roster of participants has grown to include at least 11 other countries.

    Political support will be critical, but the corridor will rise or fall on its economic merits. Trials suggest it has real, although modest, potential.

    In 2014, a dry run suggested shipping times roughly twice as fast as existing routes, reducing the journey between Mumbai and St. Petersburg from 40 to 20 days.

    Last October, a trial shipment took 23 days without the rail connection between Azerbaijan and Iran. Some experts believe the corridor has stronger economic fundamentals than some of the emerging overland routes between Asia and Europe.

    To succeed, the corridor needs to provide a compelling alternative to maritime shipping for a share of global trade. In terms of goods, the most likely candidates are agricultural products from India and raw materials from Iran and Russia.

    In terms of markets, trading partners further inland will generally find the route more competitive. For the vast majority of products and destinations, however, slower but cheaper shipping options will remain dominant.

    While the corridor’s infrastructure could be completed this year, much work remains to improve related transportation regulations. Exporters using the route must navigate a maze of rules, with different requirements for different countries. Officials and trial tests have underscored the need for a unified transportation document.

    India’s recent accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods is an important step toward addressing some of these challenges. But overall, progress has been limited.

    Growing momentum

    Looking ahead, the corridor could help revive related regional connectivity efforts.

    The commercial case for extending Iran’s railroad network to its southern port of Chabahar, for example, would be much stronger. Having invested in Chabahar, India hopes it can compete with Gwadar Port in Pakistan.

    Similarly, the completion of other emerging rail lines could gain momentum. Iran is pursuing new routes with Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkmenistan. Azerbaijan has made major investments in its port and free trade zone in Baku as well as a new railroad running into Georgia and Turkey.

    While each connection offers specific gains, all would broadly benefit by joining a stronger regional network.

    Of course, the corridor’s success will not only create winners. By redirecting some existing transportation routes, it could also put pressure on those who benefit from the status quo, particularly maritime hubs.

    Traffic through the Suez Canal is already declining, as more ships opt to take advantage of low fuel costs and take a longer journey around the Cape of Good Hope. Egypt’s forecast for the Suez Canal traffic has already proven overly optimistic and new routes overland and through the Arctic could add to its growing financial burden.

    The far-reaching potential of the relatively short Iran-Azerbaijan railroad is also a reminder that networks are becoming increasingly important. As new connections emerge across Asia, the prize will go to those who can tap into them and create hubs in a larger network.

    There is no simple recipe for success, which will require both cooperation to remove barriers as well as competition to attract investment and business.

    If that competition remains within the economic realm, Asia, Europe and the rest of the world could benefit greatly.

    India, Russia for early operationalisation of INSTC
    Posted by: nt March 17, 2017 in Business



    Aiming for further enhancement in their bilateral trade, India and Russia Thursday discussed the early operationalisation of International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that would cut the time and cost for transportation of goods between both nations.

    Currently, the bilateral trade between both countries stood at 6.62 billion dollars.

    Besides, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and her Russian counterpart Denis Manturov also deliberated to take a step further in the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

    Further, Sitharaman invited Russia to be the ‘Partner Country’ in India International Jewellery Show 2017 scheduled to be held in July in Mumbai and Advantage Healthcare India scheduled to be held in October in Delhi / Mumbai.

    Both the ministers were at the inauguration of the 6th edition of the International Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS) in Chennai, where Russia is participating as a partner country.

    “We agreed that there is enormous potential to enhance the bilateral trade which is presently US 6.62 billion dollars. We discussed the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC). We also deliberated upon other measures to enhance the trade ties, including the proposed FTA between India and the Eurasian Economic Union. Both countries also noted the need to finalise a revised Bilateral Investment Treaty,” Ms Sitharaman said.

    According to EEPC India, Russia coming forward as the Partner Country in this event is a testimony to the stature achieved by IESS. India has a long standing partnership with Russia in engineering sector. A large 120 member delegation from Russia is exhibiting their technology and products at the IESS 2017, the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement.

    As many as 400 top global exhibitors and over 500 foreign delegates are participating in this flagship engineering event which is built around the theme ? “Smart Tech for Smart Engineering”.

    Besides Russia, delegates from US, UK, Germany, UAE, Brazil, South Africa, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Nepal are also visiting IESS, which has emerged as one of the most prestigious engineering sourcing shows in the country.

    India’s engineering exports are likely to reach over 60 billion dollars in the fiscal 2016-17, on the back of revival of demand in the USA and for select products like iron.

    For the April-January period of ten months of the current fiscal, the engineering exports have touched a figure of 50.87 billion dollars, exceeding the total shipments of 49 billion dollars in the entire financial year of 2015-16.

    For January, 2017 engineering exports aggregated 5.29 billion dollars, showing an increase of over 12 per cent over the same month last fiscal.

    Why Chabahar Deal is so Important for India?

    Martand Jha
    March 22, 2017 0 Comments OPINION 214 Views
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    The Chabahar deal is an extremely important strategic decision which would help India to get a transit route to Afghanistan and further to Central Asian region and beyond. This 500 million $ investment would give India a much wanted access to the region’s resources bypassing the land route via hostile Pakistan. Secondly, this port is located very close (around 100kms) to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which has been developed by China. Therefore, a geo¬strategic game is at play between the two regional powerhouses (India and China) in the region.
    India’s trade relations and economic relations with Central Asian region in future depends a lot on the utilisation of Chabahar Port because it provides direct sea ¬land route access for India to reach Central Asia via Iran. The distance between India’s Kandla Port and Chabahar Port is quite short, thereby reducing the transportation costs of the goods can be inferred that this is a win¬ win situation for India. The Chabahar deal would also help in countering the China’s string of Pearl of strategy against India.
    Once the Chabahar port is developed, goods from India will not only travel up to Afghanistan, but beyond, along the yet¬ to ¬be developed International North ¬South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to Central Asia. Talking on this issue, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “the arc of economic benefit from this agreement could extend to the depths of the Central Asian countries. When linked with the International North South Transport Corridor, it would touch South Asia at one end and Europe at another.”
    Narendra Modi’s visit to the five Central Asian States presented an excellent opportunity for India to nurture peace in a region being swept by radical extremist winds. Scholars have argued that the India’s Connect Central Asia Policy wasn’t fruitful at its inception because the previous Indian government of UPA (United Progressive Alliance) had a lack of enthusiasm while dealing with the region.
    The NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government which was voted to power with absolute majority in the 2014 union elections had a very different outlook when compared to the previous regime. In his eight day visit to Central Asian countries, Modi focused on strategic defense alliances and boosting economic ties with the region. In this context, Chabahar can act as a game¬ changer in India’s favour.
    In the case of Chabahar, India has strategically circumvented the hostile Pakistan by bypassing its territory in order to reach Central Asia via sea ¬land route. This circumvention couldn’t be done by India in the TAPI pipeline project. The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan– Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI), also known as Trans ¬Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Asian Development Bank. The pipeline if gets functional is supposed to transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. This would had been quite fruitful to both India and Pakistan and would have brought economic prosperity in the region, apart from providing the adequate natural gas and oil to this resource hungry region. But, not a single drop of oil or natural gas has reached India because of instable Pakistan, which is lacking both the ‘intent’ and ‘capability’ to let the oil and gas reach India.
    Intent, because Pakistan doesn’t want India to prosper, though in doing that Pakistan fails to realize that not letting TAPI function, it would also lose out on energy front. But, Pakistan doesn’t mind that as long as their policy hurts India. Capability, because Pakistan as a state state is not able to tighten its control on its own territory from terrorists and radical groups.
    In that light, Chabahar deal is India’s big hope to connect to Central Asia, which India considers its ‘extended neighborhood’. But China again is acting as a detrimental force against this project with Pakistan as it doesn’t want India to get access to Central Asia’s resources. This is because the resources would prove to be hugely beneficial to India’s energy requirements and would strengthen the Indian economy.
    Though Chinese economy is far ahead of India but still China is aware of India’s emerging power status and therefore it wants India to stay out of Central Asian geo¬politics where China fears competition from India and Indian companies for resources. At this juncture, the role of multilateral forums become quite important as these forums often act as ‘icebreakers’ between hostile nations. India’s admission to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in June 2016 is one such important which might ease Indo¬ Pak relations in the context of cooperating for projects like TAPI which would prove beneficial for both the neighbours.
    On India’s admission to SCO, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that India’s entry to the SCO in 2017 would lead to even “closer Russian¬ Indian cooperation”. He further mentioned that it will provide them an opportunity to closely work with India, which was then at the floor of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” the Russian President said. India’s quest to become a full ¬fledged member of the SCO is a reflection of its desire to diversify its trans ¬regional ties in the emerging regional order in Eurasia. Among the factors encouraging this, geopolitical proximity may force India (and China for that matter) to expand its strategic relations to secure energy supplies.
    India needs to use its ‘Soft Power’ while dealing with the region. Indian culture which includes Indian cinema is extremely popular in the region since the time of USSR. People there listen to Hindi Music and watch Indian Movies from Bollywood. India needs to exploit this in its favour. In that way, India can increase its attractiveness to the region’s countries then by any other means. Sometimes, soft power can achieve what hard power can’t.
    India’s engagement with the region must be holistic in its nature and character. It should not be just about energy, oil and natural resources but about cooperating in every sphere, be it politics, culture, defence etc. Additionally, this policy shouldn’t just remain on paper but it should be realized in practice and if India manages do that, India’s stature will rise in the international system. On a whole, this policy would be a game changer in times to come and the central Asian regional dynamics will become very interesting with India’s involvement in the region in coming years, once the Chabahar port fully develops.(IDR)

    Deutsche Bahn wants to use INSTC to trade with Iran

    By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | Updated: Oct 28, 2016, 11.24 AM IST
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    READ MORE ON » Iran | INSTC | German Railway Company | Europe | Deutsche Bahn | Azerbaijan
    Deutsche Bahn, a leading German railway company, has expressed interest in using INSTC and delivering goods from Europe to Iran via Azerbaijan and vice versa
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    NEW DELHI: The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which carried out the first test shipment this month between India and Russia, has received a shot in the arm with Germany's decision to trade with Iran via this connectivity project.

    Deutsche Bahn, a leading German railway company, has expressed interest in using INSTC and delivering goods from Europe to Iran via Azerbaijan and vice versa, according to people familiar with the development. This will boost India's plans to use INSTC to reach not just Russia but also beyond Europe in shorter time than required at present.INSTC is a landand sea-based 7,200 km long network comprising rail, road and water routes that is aimed at reducing costs and travel time for freight transport in a bid to boost trade between Russia, Iran, Central Asia, India and Europe.

    The network is expected to provide faster and more efficient trade connectivity between Europe and Southeast Asia, Deutsche Bahn said. A study, conducted by the Federation of Freight Forwarders' Associations in India, showed that INSTC will be 30% cheaper and 40% shorter than the existing routes.
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