North–South Transport Corridor: Opportunities for Indo-Russian trade

By Zahid Khan

The projected corridor is inevitable to provide—the bulk of the trading in the area would be handled through a glowing established railway link that outset from India and ultimately junction to the Russian Federations via Islamic republic of Iran—It is the Corridor of shiprail, and road route for stirring of cargo among India, Iran, Central Asia, Russia, and Europe.[1]   The idea of the corridor is to enhance trade connectivity among major cities such as MumbaiTehranBaku, Bandar Abbas, Moscow,  AstrakhanBandar Anzali etc.[2] The two routes were conducted in 2014—the first rout outset from Mumbai to Baku via Bandar-Abbas and the second was Mumbai to Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas, Tehran and Bandar Anzali. The consequences divulged the transport costs were reduced by “$2,500 per 15 tons of cargo. Other routes under consideration include via ArmeniaKazakhstan and Turkmenistan.[3]

The corridor will harmonize with the Ashgabat Agreement—A multi-modal transport agreement signed by IndiaIran, Oman, TurkmenistanKazakhstan and Uzbekistan for fabricating an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf—The primary objective of the North-South Transport Corridor [NSTC] project is to lessen expenses in stipulations of time and money on the conventional route currently being used.[4]

The NSTC is the path—connecting the India to Europe via Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Russia. The multi-modal route implicate the transportation of commodities through ship, rail, and road-route for stirring the cargo from South-Asia to Europe. From Iran, the goods moves by ship across the Caspian Sea or by truck or rail to Southern Russia. From there, the goods are transported through truck or rail alongside the Volga-River via Moscow to the Northern Europe.[5]

The key rationale—India overhaul this project and unlatched a very significant skylight for invigorate the trade relations between South Asia and Central Asia. One of the significant sign-posts of this project was signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian and Iran on the development of port of Chah Bahar and transshipment capability at Bandar Abbas, Iran.[6]

Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) Mumbai is the outset point of the International NSTC which is intended to reach the Bandar Abbas near Strait of Hormuz from where the freight would be carried to Russia through railway link among Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan. The project ensured the development of Afghanistan too, as there is well established surface route from Chah Bahar port to Zarang Lake on the border of Afghanistan. In other words, the proposed transport—eventually connects the India to Russia, oblique through Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.[7]

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai piercing out, India and Russia have already recognized a few industries to squeeze on, including information technology, pharmaceuticals and space-based navigation systems for civilian purposes.[8]

Both have planned for the joint investment fund—that could promote infrastructure projects in both of the countries. The “Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation” as well as the B.2.B India-Russia Trade Forum, which convene annually in order to meet the increasingly rigid task of escalate their trade levels from the current around $10 billion to $20 billion by 2015, Mathai said.[9]

Another incredibly promising segment of cooperation between India and Russia where the two sides are constantly making incremental but slow progress—the hydrocarbon sector, where enormous prospective lies obscured factually under the ground. With over a decade of joint performance, Indian oil and gas entities are ever intense to explore Russia’s gigantic energy resources which is bound to confirm vital for both sides’ future energy supply security, and uniformly, for Russia’s energy demand security.[10]

Another promising area of Indo-Russian cooperation is the geology—the growth of gas reserves in India, and as a cohort for pipeline development. India is also talking to other states regarding new potential of reserves in the Indian Ocean basins and research on exploration of gas hydrates.[11]

Mathai’s relevant remark in this context—we need to work closely together with our Russian friends to push some major investment projects. While we seek to constructively engage on some investment episodes which have become irritants, we must ensure that they do not become deterrents for further forays.[12]

India is curious beyond and capitalize on the opportunities which will approach with Russia’s attainment to World Trade Organization [WTO] and by the growth of the Eurasian Economic gap, a revelation which is favorable to the  Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.[13]

Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus would be a potential game changer to all. Mathai said, India intends to start focused discussions with all relevant players much too soon—All this is expected to be high on the agenda of President Putin during his talks with the Indian leadership in New Delhi on December 24.[14]


  1. Despite U.S. opposition, Iran to be transport hub for North-South Corridor”. The Hindu. 31 May 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  2. “Transport Corridor offers many opportunities for Indo-Russian trade”.Russia & India Report. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  3. “Dry Run Study of INSTC Trade Route”Business Standard. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  4. “The North-South corridor: Prospects of multilateral trade in Eurasia”.Russia & India Report. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  5. “An Opportunity for India in Central Asia”The Diplomat. 4 May 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  6. “Transport Corridor offers many opportunities for Indo-Russian trade”.Russia & India Report. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  7. “Indian Delegation visit’s Iran on International North South Transport Corridor Study for new potential routes to Russia and CIS destinations”Daily Shipping Times. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  8. Tembarai Krishnamachari, Rajesh. “Entente Tri-parti : Triangular Alliances Involving India”South Asia Analysis Group, Paper 829, Nov 2003.
  9. “PM Modi Proposes Membership in International North South Transport Corridor for Turkmenistan”Indian Express. 11 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July2015.
  10. “About International North South Transport Corridor”International North South Transport Corridor. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  11. “India to Invest in Iran’s Chabahar Port”. The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  12. “Presidents open Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan rail link”Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  13.  “North-South Transnational Corridor”. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  14. “Presidents open Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan rail link”Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
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Zahid Khan

Zahid Khan is a PhD scholar at Shanghai University, PR, China

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