With an eye on enhanced trade opportunities, 13 members of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) recently reviewed the status of the dry run study between India, Iran and Russia via the Caspian Sea.
- The international transport corridor is expected to substantially reduce cargo transportation time between India and Central Asia and Russia.
- The dry run between Nhava Sheva (Mumbai) – Bandar Abbas (Iran) – Baku (Azerbaijan) and Nhava Sheva – Bandar Abbas (Iran) – Amirabad (Iran) – Astrakhan (Russia) via the Caspian Sea was conducted in August last year.
- Once the North-South Corridor becomes operational, India will have better connectivity with Russia, bringing down the freight rates.
- India, which recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Iran for the development of the Chabahar port which is its anticipated gateway to Afghanistan, is keen to tap the trading potential with countries in the region and has been pushing for providing connectivity.
The International North–South Transport Corridor is the ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia. The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road. The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali and etc.
The Caspian Sea, surrounded by the five littoral countries, is the largest land-locked body of water on earth. The isolation of the Caspian basin, its climate and its sea characteristics like salinity gradients, have created a unique ecological system. The coastlines of the Caspian are shared by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. The Caspian Sea, like the Aral Sea, Black Sea, and Lake Urmia, is a remnant of the ancient Paratethys Sea.
Sources: The Hindu, caspianinfo.net, Wiki.