New Delhi: India and Russia are making strong movements to boost bilateral trade by starting transport through Iran. For this, a new 7,200 kilometres long International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is being built. Currently, the United States has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran and is imposing tough sanctions on the countries conducting trade with Iran, and also projects with Iranian participation. Despite this, it is apparent that India and Russia are working on the project by risking US sanctions.
Russia is a traditional friend of India. The Indo-Russian friendship has stood the test of time. It does not get affected by the upheavals on the global level. But these close relations have not been reflected in bilateral trade. The bilateral trade between these two countries is a meagre USD 11 billion. But the countries have set the objective to take this trade to USD 30 billion by 2025. The biggest obstacle for the bilateral trade is considered to be the geographical distance between the two countries. Therefore, this decision to build INSTC was taken to make the freight movement fast and easy. It will be possible to transport goods to Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, through Iran.
The transport costs also will reduce substantially with this corridor. The movement of goods will be possible by road as well as by rail. It is predicted that this corridor will reduce the cost of transport for 15 tonnes of goods by nearly USD 2,500.
Container Corporation of India and Russian Logistic Joint Stock Company signed an MoU. This trade route, between India and Russia, will be activated within the next three months. V. Kalyan Rama said that henceforth, Indian and Russian traders would exchange goods through this corridor. The agreement to build the corridor had been signed long ago in 2002. After Pakistan blocked the trade route between India and Afghanistan, India developed an alternative way by developing the Chabahar port in Iran. In October 2017, wheat had been exported from Kandla port, in Gujarat, to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port.
Now, with the INSTC, the Indo-Russian trade has become easier, and both the countries will immensely benefit with this development.