Current Affairs – July 2015

INSTC, India’s strategic gateway to Central Asia and Eurasia

The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is considered as gateway for India to expand trade and investment links with Central Asia and Eurasia.

Its importance was highlighted in India’s Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20.

However, recently it gained importance in light of the evolving geopolitical developments of India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to 5 Central Asian Countries viz Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

  • It is a multi-modal trade transport network that includes strategic rail, road, and water transport connecting India with Central Asian and Eurasia Countries.
  • Route: It will connect Mumbai (India) via Chabahar and Bandar Abbas ports of Iran with Baku (Azerbaijan) to Moscow (Russia) and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe via the Caspian Sea.
  • Economic Integration: It will help in facilitating India’s economic integration with Eurasian economies and other countries in surrounding regions.
  • If India partners with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), it will further boost and expand its economic, trade and investment opportunities in more countries in this region.
  • Shorter transport route: It will be a shorter route to transport goods to Eurasian and Central Asian regions compared to present route via Suez Canal and western European countries. Thus, reduce the cost of transporting goods from India to Eurasia.
  • Natural resources access: It will help India to tap the abundant natural resources potential of Central Asian countries for its energy security. These countries are having rich deposits of petroleum, natural gas and uranium along with deposits of fertilizer inputs such as potash.
  • Exports: Many sectors in this region are becoming increasingly service-oriented which can benefit India to export expertise in information technology and IT-enabled services.

Implications

For India, the INSTC will be strategically important trade corridor of tremendous promise that could help to develop its economic and strategic importance in Eurasia and Central Asia. It could also give India economic and strategic relevance to tackle regional ambitions of China through its One Belt, One Road Initiative.

Map Source: CIA

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CCEA approves creation of Intra State Transmission System in 7 States

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the creation of an Intra-state Transmission System (ISTS) in 7 states across the country.

7 States are: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

Key facts about Intra-state Transmission System

  • Under the project, the activities envisaged includes establishment of 48 new Grid sub-stations of different voltage levels. It will have total transformation capacity around 17,100 Mega Volt Ampere (MVA).
  • It will also include installing over 7,800 Circuit Kilometres (ckt-kms) of transmission lines in these seven states. The project is proposed to be completed within a period of 3 to 5 years.
  • Tapping renewable energy potential: These 7 states are having rich renewable resource potential with numerous large planned renewable power projects.
  • Creation of this system will facilitate evacuation of renewable power from generation stations to load centres.
  • Funding: It will be created at an estimated cost of 8548 crore rupees. Of this total amount National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) will contribute 3,419 crore rupees i.e. 40 per cent for this project.

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