The launch of the first commercial consignment from the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) in July 2022 is a historic milestone as this transcontinental multimodal transport project unfolds its enormous potential. India at its peak, wrote Maheep.
Maheep is a leading expert on India’s foreign affairs. He has a keen interest in the political economy of India and contributes regularly.
This remarkable trade route originated from the southern port of Astrakhan in Russia, went through the Iranian ports of Anjali on the Caspian Sea and Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf, eventually reaching its destination at Nhava Sheva port in Mumbai. The successful transit of this first commercial consignment highlights the undeniable viability of the INSTC trade transit corridor.
The strategic route of goods through multiple countries and diverse ports exemplifies the corridor’s potential to facilitate seamless connectivity and enhance regional trade. With its route spanning various regions from Russia to Iran and further to India, INSTC demonstrates its potential to unlock economic growth, promote cooperation among member countries and open new avenues for international commerce.
INSTC project established in the year 2000 and approved by India, Iran and Russia in 2002, is an inter-governmental and intercontinental multimodal transport project, spread over 7,200 km, connecting India to Iran and Central Asia to Russia Is. The member countries of INSTC include India, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Syria, Turkey and Ukraine, with Bulgaria as an observer state. INSTC consists of sea routes, rail links and road links, connecting Mumbai in India to St. Petersburg in Russia, passing through the Chabahar port in Iran.
The INSTC project is one of a series of international initiatives involving India and showcases India’s accelerated external debt programs aimed at holistic development, in contrast to China’s programs, which are predatory lending practices that are often self-interested. priority and leave recipient nations burdened with earmarked debts. Nefarious designs like salami-slicing tactics. India’s proactive approach towards INSTC seeks to expand its global infrastructural and developmental footprint in line with its growing global stature. By spearheading this ambitious effort, India is looking for alternative means of connecting with hydrocarbon-rich and strategically important Central Asia. India’s focus on INSTC and investment in Chabahar port in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province are some of the steps in this direction.
INSTC is believed to significantly reduce both transportation cost and transit time. According to a study by the Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations of India (FFAI), INSTC will make cargo transportation 30 percent cheaper and 40 percent faster through the traditional transport route of the Suez Canal. This means that the transit time of about 45 to 60 days for cargo shipment from Europe to India through Suez Canal will be reduced to only 23 days through INSTC. 
It will also facilitate easier and faster access to hydrocarbons and other mineral resources from Central Asia, which is mostly landlocked, supporting India’s fast-growing economy. It will also become faster and cheaper to import fertiliser, iron and coal from Russia and Ukraine. With many Western companies wanting to leave China, Mumbai could be developed as a transshipment hub for good transport to Europe, competing with larger centers in China. As a seamless transport and transit corridor, INSTC can help India attract a significant portion of export-oriented manufacturing activities that are looking to move out of China.
This would benefit Iran as the Chabahar port could become a major transshipment hub for cargo, due to its strategic location as well as the port’s 16-metre deep draft which makes it possible to handle large shipment ships. Iran is already grappling with Western sanctions and stands to benefit immensely from the development of INSTC.
Russia has been facing sanctions since the start of the Ukraine crisis. It is therefore looking for alternative routes to global markets and is becoming more Eurasian-oriented than European-oriented with respect to its exports. Russia is trying to gain a foothold in the markets of India, East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. INSTC has emerged as a viable solution to mitigate Russia’s current and future business connectivity challenges.
In this context, President Vladimir Putin has voiced strong support for INSTC as an important link
Source : india postsen