Question- 2. The International North South Transport Corridor, which aims to bring Eurasia closer together, is a laudable initiative. Explain
Answer: The International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a 7,200km multimodal transport corridor that combines road, rail and maritime routes connecting Russia and India via central Asia and Iran. The corridor is expected to consolidate the emerging Eurasian Free Trade Area.
- The INSTC’s launch provides missing pieces of the puzzle about India’s refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. India’s decision had then been explained in terms of its military reliance on Russia, its aim to keep open alternative supplies of precious oil and gas, and a legacy of its nonalignment.
- The legal framework for the INSTC is provided by a trilateral agreement signed by India, Iran and Russia at the EuroAsian Conference on Transport in 2000.
- Since then Kazakhstan, Belarus, Oman, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Syria have signed instruments of accession to become members of the INSTC.
- Once fully operational, the INSTC is expected to reduce freight costs by 30% and journey time by 40% in comparison with the conventional deep sea route via the Suez Canal.
India’s role in INSTC
- India’s investment in the INSTC is exemplified by its involvement in Iran’s Chabahar port and the construction of a 500km Chabahar Zahedan railway line.
- For India, the INSTC achieves several things all at once. Firstly, India can now bypass Pakistan to access Afghanistan, central Asia and beyond. Second, the INSTC can shape a north south transport corridor that can complement the east west axis of the Chinaled Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- The launch of the INSTC was overshadowed by the Quad Summit held in May 2022 at which the leaders of the Quad re emphasized the principles of a free and open Indo Pacific.
Thus, the INSTC provides an opportunity for the internationalization of India’s infrastructural state, with state run businesses taking the lead and paving the way for private companies.
India’s founding role in both the INSTC and the Quad exemplify its departure from nonalignment to multialignment.
Tags: GS 2 (International relations)
By- Prashant Tiwari