New Delhi, Aug 21:
A coordination council meeting of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) was held here on Friday, over a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Central Asian countries to join the grouping.
INSTC aims to form a transport corridor from Nava Sheva in Mumbai all the way to Astrakhan in Russia.
The 7th coordination council meeting of the INSTC held here was attended by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar.
The participating countries were India, Iran, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Oman, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine.
The INSTC envisages movement of goods from Mumbai to Bandar Abbas in Iran by sea, from Bandar Abbas to Bandar-e-Anzali (an Iranian port on the Caspian Sea) by road, and then from Bandar-e-Anzali to Astrakhan (a Caspian port in Russia) by ship across the Caspian Sea, and thereafter from Astrakhan to other regions of Russia and further into Europe by Russian trains.
The corridor is proposed to go from Nava Sheva (Mumbai) through Bandar Abbas (Iran) to Astrakhan (Russia) and Baku (Azerbaijan). It is expected to reduce much time in transporting cargo from India to the regions of Central Asia and Russia.
In May, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari signed a MoU for the development of Chabahar port project during his visit to Iran.
As per the $85 million deal, India will help build THE second and third terminals at the port, including the construction of the railway line connecting the port with the rest of Iran.
This project is expected to become operational by December next year.
The Chabahar port and the INSTC had also figured during Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s talks in New Delhi on August 14.
During his visit to the five Central Asian nations in July, Modi urged them to push ahead with the INSTC. (IANS)