As many as 32 containers will be reaching India’s Nhava Sheva port soon from Helsinki. What is important is that these containers will be using the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) route.
B Vanlalvawna, Ambassador of India to Azerbaijan said, “32 containers have departed from Helsinki en route to Indian port of Nhava Sheva using the INSTC route that travels through Russia, crosses Azerbaijan and transits Iran to reach India.”
Earlier this year, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar proposed the integration of Iran's Chabahar Port with the International INSTC.
A seamless cross-linkage will substantially amplify trade volumes. Once this happens, Iran’s port of the Bandar Abbas in the Gulf which is the fulcrum of the INSTC will supplement Chabahar, greatly augmenting India’s linkages with Eurasia. From Bandar Abbas, the INSTC extends to Bandar Anzali, an Iranian port on the Caspian.
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Trade cargoes from Bandar Anzali can then be shipped to Astrakhan on the Russian side, which is interlinked with several routes, including ones that head towards Azerbaijan and Armenia, establishing a new corridor between Caucasia and India.
Addressing the webinar on ‘Activating International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC): Role of Azerbaijan’ organised by industry body FICCI, jointly with the Embassy of India in Baku in Azerbaijan, Vanlalvawna noted the several contributions made by Azerbaijan towards the operationalisation of INSTC.
“Azerbaijan is one of the most prepared countries in infrastructure including rail-road lines from Astara, Azerbaijan to Russia to establish enhanced connectivity,” he added.
Azerbaijan is strategically located and plays a crucial role in the connectivity of the INSTC route, the ambassador said. Azerbaijan opens up a window of opportunity not only on the north south corridor but also the eastern corridor.
Orkhan Mustafayev, Deputy Head of United Transit Operator Department, Ministry of Economy, Azerbaijan, who was also present at the webinar invited important stakeholders to join hands in developing the project.
India’s economic engagements with Azerbaijan have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. In March 2013, ONGC Videsh Ltd acquired shares worth $1 billion in development projects of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil field and the Baku-TbilisiCeyhan pipeline from the US Company Hess. The ONGC has also opened its office in Baku.