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Vipin Garg asked: What will be the significance of the proposed international north south corridor for India?

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  • Meena Singh Roy replies: India, Iran and Russia signed the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) agreement on September 12, 2000. The agreement provides for the transit of goods through Iran and the Caspian Sea to Russia and Northern Europe. This agreement has been ratified by all the three signatories and has been in force since May 16, 2002.

    The INSTC is an important gateway for India to Central Asia. The potential of this corridor is manifold, with India, Myanmar and Thailand also getting linked by road. This will boost trade between Europe and South East Asia as well. As compared to the route through Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea that is currently used, the INSTC is much shorter and cost-effective. It is 40 per cent shorter and 30 per cent cheaper. From India’s point of view, the North-South Corridor not only helps India bypass Pakistan and yet reach out to Central Asia but also enables it to transport goods at a cheaper cost to the European markets. At present there are many missing links in this route. Member countries are working to address the problem areas to make full use of the corridor.