Tehran (IP) - The Indian ambassador to Iran said that Iran is the fulcrum and the main partner in the North-South corridor, adding that the Prime Minister of India has invited the Central Asian countries to cooperate with New Delhi in developing the Chabahar port.

Iran PressIran News: India and Iran signed a series of agreements that will allow New Delhi to use the port of Chabahar to access Central Asia and Afghanistan.

The first agreement, a bilateral, signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s May 22-23, 2016 visit, will provide India the right to develop and operate two terminals and five berths with multipurpose cargo handling capacities in the port of Chabahar for 10 years.

After the bilateral, Prime Minister Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were joined by Dr. Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, who sealed the agreement for the Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor connecting Chahbahar with the Afghan road and rail network.

Iran's Chabahar Free Zone on the coast of the Oman Sea creates a safe and short route between the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, West and Central Asia, as well as the Caucasus and Europe.

Accordingly, the Indian government had earlier requested that Chabahar Port be included in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) connecting Mumbai to Moscow.

INSTC is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes for moving freight between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe.

It has replaced the 16,000-kilometer freight transportation through the Suez Canal with a 7,200-kilometer route, which will result in a 40% reduction in the time it takes to transport goods to their destination and a 30% reduction in transportation costs.

The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali, etc.

Dry runs of two routes were conducted in 2014, the first was Mumbai to Baku via Bandar Abbas, and the second was Mumbai to Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas, Tehran, and Bandar Anzali. The objective of the study was to identify and address key bottlenecks.

The results showed transport costs were reduced by "$2,500 per 15 tons of cargo". Other routes under consideration include via Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Gaddam Dharmendra, India's ambassador to Iran, added: The INSTC is an important dimension governing India-Iran relations, which is of special attention and in the program priorities of the senior officials of the two countries.

Stating that the INSTC provides a historic opportunity to deepen India's relations and connections with its neighbors, Dharmendra underscored: The INSTC is a multi-modal transit route in which Iran plays the main role and as a fulcrum. 

According to the Indian diplomat, the corridor connects important economies, including India, ASEAN, and East Asia, to Central Asia, Caucasus, Russia, and Eastern Europe.


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