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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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India, Tajikistan ink 2 pacts to strengthen bilateral relations

India and Tajikistan have inked 2 pacts to strengthen bilateral relations

They were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Tajikistan.  It was his last leg of strategic tour to 5 Central Asian countries (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and Russia.

Signed pacts are

  • Programme of Cooperation (POC) in the field of Culture: It was signed between Ministries of Culture of India and Tajikistan for the years 2016-18. It envisages cooperation in the field of culture between both nations through exchange of expertise for protection, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage. It also seeks to exchange of information and experts and organization of cultural days for greater cultural understanding between the countries.
  • Exchange of Note Verbale (NV) on setting up of Computer Labs: It conveys the intention of India to set up computer labs in 37 schools in Tajikistan. With this initiative India’s seeks to support Tajikistan in human resource and skill development efforts.

Besides signing these pacts, both leaders Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan agreed to promote the International North South transport corridor (INSTC). Both nations also pledged to further deepen their cooperation to fight the menace of radical terrorism and agreed to step up defence ties besides boosting trade and investment.

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India, Kyrgyzstan ink 4 pacts during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit

India and Kyrgyzstan have signed 4 pacts/ agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

These agreements were inked during the two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kyrgystan as part of his official visit to 5 Central Asian countries and Russia.

Signed agreements are

  • Agreement on Defence Cooperation: It was signed to deepen cooperation between both countries in matters relating to security, defence, military education and training.
  • It also covers provisions to conduct of joint military exercises, exchange of military instructors, exchange of experience and information and observers etc.
  • MoU and Cooperation in the field of Elections: It was signed to deepen cooperation in matters relating to legislation on elections and referendums. It also covered rights of elections process stakeholders, modern systems and technologies as well as other issues of election administration.
  • MoU on cooperation in the sphere of Standards: Seeks to strengthen and enhance technical cooperation in the fields of conformity assessment, standardization and sharing of expertise on mutual trade.
  • It also aims at exchanging necessary information and expertise in this regard between the two parties. Signatory parties are Ministry of Economy of Kyrgyzstan and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
  • Agreement on Cooperation in Culture: To deepen cultural cooperation between both countries in areas such as preservation of cultural heritage, theatre, youth festivals and organisation of folk arts.
  • It also seeks to boost cooperation in of publishing and translation of literature, culture, sports and physical exchange of archival materials, geography, history etc.

Besides signing these agreements, both nations also released Indo- Kyrgyz Joint Statements to increase regional cooperation and connectivity in the various fields including Political cooperation, regional and global level cooperation, Defence cooperation, Economic cooperation, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, Cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

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