Expanding Horizons: India & Iran to Utilize Chabahar Port for Strengthening Trade with Russia
According to Mohammad Miri, an adviser to the Iranian Chabahar Free Zone, India, and Iran intend to accelerate the operationalization of the International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC) to increase trade with Russia.
As per prior agreements, a trial shipment to test trade links from Russia to India will be attempted in the following six to eight months. While a previous load in 2022 went through the more established Bandar Abbas port, this one will pass through the strategically significant Chabahar Port.
As a new trade route to strengthen ties between India, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, the INSTC was first conceived in 2001. Numerous attempts have been made to restart the INSTC, according to a study by the Centre for Air Power Studies, an Indian think tank.
In 2014, a dry run was performed to fix any issues with the corridor. Following this, in 2015, a draught transit and customs agreement was reached. The corridor from Russia to India then underwent another trial run in 2022. The previous test runs, according to Miri, used Iran’s Bandar Abbas port to enable the delivery of the goods to India.
The upcoming trial run, which is being prepared, may pass through Chabahar, where India maintains berths in the Shahid Behesti Terminal.
Iranian officials have also suggested connecting free trade zones between Chabahar and an Indian port to develop this new route and facilitate trade.
In a meeting with the Indian Ambassador to Iran, Rudra Gaurav Shresth, this week, the Managing Director of the Chabahar Free Trade Zone proposed, according to the trade zone’s officials, who later discussed it with Indian journalists in Iran.
To advance this operationalization, a high-level ministerial gathering is scheduled for January 2024 in Chabahar. India has previously hosted “Chabahar Day” meetings for nations from the region.
The strict sanctions the West has put on bran and Russia will be the main obstacle to moving the INSTC forward.
An important international transportation hub that links Iran, India, and Russia is Chabahar Port, which is situated on Iran’s southeast coast. This strategically significant deep-sea port has developed into a significant entry point for trade and commerce between these countries. In addition to providing simple access to the Arabian Sea, Chabahar Port also acts as a vital connection between Central Asia and South Asia. This thriving port can accommodate a variety of vessels, including container ships, oil tankers, and bulk carriers, thanks to its cutting-edge infrastructure and facilities. It facilitates seamless transit between Russia’s eastern shores and India’s western coast by acting as a key node in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). Additionally, Chabahar port enables trade diversification for landlocked nations like Afghanistan, which can now skip Pakistan and use this important maritime route to import or export goods. Additionally, ongoing development initiatives to improve regional connectivity, such as the construction of railway networks linking Chabahar port to Afghanistan and Central Asia, add to the region’s significance in the dynamics of international trade.