WHY IN NEWS
- On 21 June, 2021 INSTC’s Western corridor was operaiodized to connect India with Europe for the first time.
- In March, 2021 Suez Canal blockage cost the global economy a hefty damage amounting to US$ 9 billion.
- It has amplified the optimistic outlook towards the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) as a cheaper and faster alternative multimodal transit corridor.
WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL NORTH SOUTH TRANSPORT CORRIDOR?
- The INSTC is a 7,200 km long multi model transportation network.
- It is multi-mode network of sea, road, and rail routes to offer the shortest route of connectivity.
- This corridor connects Indian Ocean & Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran, and is then connected to Saint Petersburg and North European via Russia.
- It was launched in 2000 with India Russia and Iran as its founding members.
- It works on actualizing the corridor began in 2002.
- Since then, INSTC membership has expanded to included 10 more countries and Bulgaria as an observer.
NEED FOR AND INSTC
- The International North South Transport Corridor connects with Central Asia & Russia.
- It has the potential to expand up to Baltic, Nordic and Arctic region.
- This connectivity initiative has its underlying commercial advantages.
- It can bring about a transformative development in the region.
- It will not just facilitate transit but humanitarian assistance as well as overall economic development.
Architecture of the INSTC
The INSCTC Spirals across the following branches:
BENEFITS AND GAINS FROM INSTC FOR INDIA
- India has accorded priority to economic integration with the member nations. It has also accordingly concluded Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) and Bilateral Investment Protection (BIP) with some member states.
- Increased market access along with creation of new markets – Cheaper cost of transport will lead to increased competitiveness of Indian exports opening access to unfulfilled markets.
- Facilitation of transit: By facilitation of transit, INSTC will develop regional transit & logistics hubs. For example – Iran and Azerbaijan are expected to develop into transit hubs.
- Increase trade between member nation. The INSTC will not only enhance physical connectivity but will also improve knowledge and information sharing mechanism. For India, INSTC provides a shorter trade route with Iran, Russia and beyond to Europe creating scope for increased economic development.
- Creation of backward & forward linkages: It will not only improve connectivity and trade prospects with the energy rich member nations but also another prospect of an oil pipeline development along INSTC cannot be ruled out.
- Potential Materialization of Free trade agreements (FTAs) in the region – Access to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will open India to a market of nearly 173 million people.
- Possible synchronization with Baltic Nordic and Arctic Corridor in the future: Alongside the North Sea Baltic Corridor, INSCTC may synchronize with the Scandinavian – Mediterranean Corridor and the planned Arctic corridor in the future.
- When we look it in sync with the Ashgabat Agreement, the INSTC could be the key to India’ ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy.
Immense opportunity for India in various sectors along the INSTC:
It can be of –
THE PATH FORWARD
- Although the INSTC if realized in full, can open massive opportunities for all the stakeholders, the potential advantages will require a lot more in terms of finance, cooperation of political will.
- However, the INSTC provides the opportunity to member countries to collaborate in manner that fosters increased economic integration.