_ Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury. New Delhi, 5 February 2019.
India, eyeing a bigger role in Eurasia and Afghanistan amid prevailing geopolitics, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia for fast-tracking International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that will enable a smoother connectivity to the region via Iran.
Russian Railways Logistics Joint Stock Company (RZD) and Container Corporation of India (CONCOR), the largest rail container transport operator in India, last week signed the MoU for providing logistics services on INTSC, the implementation of which has been delayed for years despite a dry run on the corridor in recent years. The MoU involves study of possibilities for developing joint logistics projects in Russia and India using international transport corridors, including INSTC, EThas learnt. India and Russia have been in dialogue to jointly implement connectivity projects or corridors within the Eurasian region as well initiatives that connect Eurasia with the Indian Ocean Region.
The two countries, as part of the MoU, intend to organise joint workshop to improve Indo-Russian logistics cooperation, develop joint projects in the field of container transportation between countries, and also develop high-quality logistics services, including those aimed at further improving the efficiency of INSTC.
INSTC is the shortest multimodal transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf via Iran to Russia and Europe. India could take benefit of this route. Cargo from India can be taken to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and from there to Bandar-e Anzali on the Caspian Sea by land. The goods can then be shipped to the Russian port of Astrakhan and from there to therest of Europe by rail.