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Updated: May 31, 2012 10:42 IST

Despite U.S. opposition, Iran to be transport hub for North-South Corridor

Sandeep Dikshit
Comment (34)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The proposed International North South Transport Corridor.
The proposed International North South Transport Corridor.

A multi-nation transport corridor that would radically reduce cargo transportation time between India on one side and Central Asia and Russia on the other with Iran being the pivot could see dry runs beginning next year.

A three-day meeting of experts from 16 countries discussed ways to smoothen the way for the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and at least six supplementary routes despite the U.S. pushing its Silk Road proposal in which its bete noire Iran has been excluded.

In stark contrast, Iran plays a crucial role in the multi-modal North-South Corridor as its port Bandar Abbas will be the hub of all activity. Experts proposed the setting up of two four-nation groups to resolve many of the ssues. Iran along with Russia and India (all three initiators of the project) will be in both groups.

The meeting on the INSTC which ended here on Wednesday proposed a joint venture between Iran, India, Russia and Azerbaijan to find solutions to aspects such as infrastructure and funding. It also suggested a core group on customs — India, Russia, Iran and Turkey — consisting of experts from these countries, based in Delhi to sort out issues.

When India pointed to the missing link of 500 km in Iran that could impede the project, Tehran gave some good news. It said 372 km of the Quazvin-Rasht-Astra was complete and the contractor identified 163 km of the Rasht-Astra route. But there were technical problems in the last leg leading up to Azerbaijan. The experts suggested that a fund may be created to help Iran complete the route as quickly as possible.

The meeting was aimed at achieving progress on four fronts — identifying the residual construction on the main North-South Corridor and the time frame for completion of the work, identification of bottlenecks and action plan for the resolution, action plan along with the time frame for harmonisation of customs and insurance documents and procedures and identification of complementary routes and their status and actionable points for member-countries.

The experts indicated the need for funds to the tune of $700 million (over Rs. 4,000 crores) to ensure that portions of the proposed East-West corridor connecting the Persian Gulf to Central Asia and China could be linked to the North-South corridor.

An excellent idea and a very clear eyed article. I wish this proposal all sucess because it will correct the imbalance caused by development of western shipping which left many towns and people on the land trading routes high and dry. This led to invasions by these frustrated people. $many of these nation states isolated for centuries will get back into the world of today.

from:  ravinder lota
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 22:06 IST

India's Interest is in Iran's Interest. India imports 48% of oil from
Iran as it is cheaper due to low transportation distance. We must
maintain good relations with them and have better trade. We should deal
with US diplomatically in such case.

from:  ravi sant
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 13:45 IST

@Kris Murthy,
I am sorry but i have to disagree with you. So you mean to say if India starts listening to USA, then Iran might not be able to develop nuclear weapons? Don't you think it was the same western countries (USA, EUROPE etc) which sanctioned us for carrying out nuclear test? What happened next? After a decade, the same US and EUROPE which sanctioned us now want to have trade with us. And above all, do you think nuclear Iran is more dangerous than nuclear pakistan and nuclear china? You cannot stop any country pursuing its own interest and its growth. Its better we capitalise on the opportunity and improve our economy.

from:  John
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 13:44 IST

With demand for better connectivity between different countries and territories rising, a visionary project such as this will be of enormous significance. Central Asia has always been a huge source of energy but its potential remained partially tapped because of its geographical isolation and political instability. Karachi could well have been an important port providing access to this virtually impregnable region through Afghanistan, which successive Pakistani rulers tried to exploit in vain, but given that these true countries are in a state of perpetual chaos the need for an alternative route was imperative. India, though anyway is, must be involved in this ambitious venture actively as it will facilitate our trade relations with Central Asian countries and help bolster people to people contact. As far as the United States is concerned I don't think they will be able to hold out with their opposition for long as economic benefits from a fully operational transport corridor beckon.

from:  Mukul Dutta
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 13:03 IST

US alternative of Silk route runs through hostile states of Pakistan & Taliban controlled Afghanistan (Karzai is no more than mayor of Kabul). Will NATO protect the Silk route corridor for the next 50 years???

from:  Vasant Shinde
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 13:00 IST

The US is being foolish in considering Iran as a permanent enemy. They should co-opt Iran into NATO the way they did with Egypt. It will increase Israel's security guarantee like never before. Also Iran is not an exporter of religious extremism/wahabism & terrorism like Saudi Arabia & Pakistan. Remember 15 9/11 bombers were Saudi, its planner Khalid S Mohd is a Pakistani, its leader Bin-Laden was also Saudi & the attacks were planned from Af-Pak.

from:  Shaleen Mathur
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 12:56 IST

these developments helps to balance the rising bipolarism to
neutralism...

from:  ravi kumar
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 12:43 IST

at last india came with some courage to go against U.S. it is not a gain/loss for US but it will be for sure a win-win situation for India and Iran.. i hope., India will import the crude in full swing from Iran in future.. (as now it has reduced its import from Iran)..

from:  sayeed
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 12:38 IST

We have a ~120 km border with Afghanistan from POK..!! That can be used to create a road/rail network...(Agreed that himalayan terrain is a challenge and getting back POK is a questionable ToPiC!)...Some grave mistakes committed in the past is resulting in massive losses...

from:  Suprasanna Bhat
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 12:26 IST

Very nice proposal being put-forth. As India is growing, it needs more
& more energy. Russia and Iran being the front runner in energy sector
may prove to be a long ally and fulfill a great need of india as this
project gets completed. I think its a great news in international arena
for Indian perspective.

from:  Prakash Trivedi
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 12:13 IST

Finally some good news.For an energy hungry country like India,
investment in infrastructure is very important and can help reap long
term benefits.

from:  Varun Vashishth
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 11:39 IST

A much needed discussion in the wake of the current and perceived future fuel crisis. A drop saved is drop earned for the future generation. India should bring both Iran and USA to the table and be a negotiator in the interest of all parties involved. Good development.

from:  Prabakaran
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 11:32 IST

I am sorry so many in India do not seem to understand the US stand on Iran. If and when Iran produces a nuclear weapon, it is a threat not so much to USA as it is for India. One nuclear Pak is bad enough; do we need a nuclear Iran too? What if Islamic extremists in Iran rise to power in a nuclear Iran. It can be a great problem to India while it won't make US lose its sleep. Yes, US supports very strongly (too strongly) Israel and nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel. India's first interest is to worry about its own security which will be ill served by a nuclear Iran. India as a regional power must do what is in its best interest and the North South transport corridor initiative may be a good one. Also, India should weigh the cost of not cooperating with US to prevent Iran going nuclear, which could be disastrous for india. My own opinion is that it is better to keep continous contacts with Iran rather than isolate it, which may starve Iranian public but not the Iranian leaders.

from:  Kris Murthy
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 11:05 IST

Considering the country's current energy crisis, India should go ahead and complete the project. If India can realize the project despite all the international pressure from US and UN, it would be a great strategic move by INDIA over a long time.

from:  Gowtham
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 10:58 IST

A good step forward..

from:  Su.Murugavel
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 10:53 IST

Despite knowing very well the US interests, India is taking its own route in the international arena. The North-South corridor might not be a feasible idea for US but it suits our interests. This is really the lead India is supposed to take in the growing multi-dimensional power equations in the world.
Moreover, India is engaging the East-Asia and now opening up the avenues in the central Asia will having tremendous impact on our energy demands.

from:  Naseer
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 10:48 IST

Pls look with caution. Just yesterday GMR scam is exposed regarding Internation airport. The current group of ministers with daily/weekly new scams exposed of huge proportions. I am not sure the reason is national interest. I look at this with caution. The detailed reasoning of US is not presented here.
Looking forward to detailed reporting of how the deal goes, and transparency adopted in it.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 10:44 IST

It is great the India is cultivating it's old economical and cultural relationship with Iran. Both India and Iran have been around for thousands of years whereas US is a newbi. We need Iran and Iran needs us.

from:  vishnu
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 10:28 IST


Once again, India is presented with an opportunity to play a leadership role in the ongoing conflict between Iran and the West (read the U.S.). The last time it had a similar opportunity was when the U.S. was toyed with the idea of punishing Iran for not being transparent about its nuclear program. Because the program allegedly threatened Israel’s security, to which the U.S. was fully committed, India could not be of much help in resolving the dispute. India's national interest demanded that it remain friends with the U.S., Israel and Iran. That the U.S. commitment to Israel's security is seen by the rest of the world as too partisan is a different matter.
Israel’s security is not an issue in the present case. That’s the point that India has to stress while dealing with the U.S. and Israel with regard to it. India has every right to resolve this issue in a way that best suits its national interest.

from:  M.P. Prabhakaran
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 09:42 IST

Remarkable Idea, India and its allies must go ahead with this plan and
not worry about USA. They are in no way our Big Daddy to stop us from
Developing, they should mind their own Business.

from:  Nouman Mohammed
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 09:41 IST

India should do what banefits to the country. we are independent. This plan increse over national profit not terrorism or threat to any country. US shound not think in this way " Enemy friend also Enemy".
Historically india have good relationship with iran.

from:  syed naseer
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 09:38 IST

If India has any semblance of self-respect and democratic values, it should simply ignore the USA and its vested interests. We are a nation of outstanding ethics and values. you don't need an Yankee to advise us. Get started on new vistas. Open up new horizons. Or else we shall be left badly behind China. Mind you, China doesn't give a ' damn' about the USA.

from:  adonison
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 09:37 IST

Brave move. Indeed

from:  Danish Ahmed
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 09:36 IST

India-Iran should consider US as allied partner in the project and see
what and how can US-India and Iran can help each other.

from:  shiv
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 09:21 IST

At last India has shown some spine!

from:  Divya
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 09:18 IST

A visionary project that will change the energy scenario in the involved countries. Considering the strengths of the involved countries and the reciprocal arrangements we have ( INDIA )in a friendly manner will pave the way for smooth execution of the project. Only we need firmness in our decision to stick on tthe project irrespective of the international pressures.
We are a taller nation in all aspects of the existing world environment and we have our own priorities and safeguarding our own interests as well in all the spears of our vision for a Futuristic INDIA playing a constructive role in the 21st centaury. Also it will be a showcase project model for INDIA’s ability to convince the concerned countries and showing it to the other world countries ( i.e US & to the western countries who are opposing a greater role to India in the world forums such as UN, etc.. ) that our capability to bring together all the countries involved for a common cause. HATs off to our PM .

from:  C.ELUMALAI
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 08:55 IST

Awesome. Proud to hear that india is taking some bold steps. I really
appreciate Hindu in showing this news in its front page. I can't even
find this news in other leading sites

from:  Prabhakaran
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 08:39 IST

The above development is heartening to note in the backdrop of reports of India bowing to US pressure to reduce its crude oil trade with Iran. India's strength and credibility has always been its Nonalignment policy and standing up for justice. The US has been pressuring India as of late to dance to its tunes, obviously with its own welfare in mind, and this has worried the responsible citizens in India. We should make our own decisions, not to suit the whims and fancies of others.

from:  Balaji Venkataperumal
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 08:22 IST

Way to go India. Also thanks for Hindu bringing these kind of articles.
This news definitely important than KKR celebrations.

from:  Salai
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 08:20 IST

Yeah nice idea and this route would be operational when pigs grow wings and start flying too. One more grandiose plan like the IPI gas pipeline. Until Iran comes clean on nuclear issue all these plans would remain mere plans.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 08:10 IST

Very heartening development. India must pursue it to its logical end inspite of the US pressure.

from:  Sudhir Chaitanya
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 07:14 IST

India should over come the pressure from US and its allies to isolate Iran,purely on US business interest.Iran will be a good friend and business partner for the emerging economies like India and Russia.

from:  Ajith
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 05:32 IST

In the new multi-polar world, Countries with strategic interests must constantly seek such solutions. It is truly commendable that India is taking the lead in this and other initiatives on the East through Bangladesh,Myanmar and Thailand. There is very little doubt that intra-trade within Asia will dominate business growth, when Europe is slowing. Iran too has a unique opportunity to be a significant player in the current initiative and this will defuse some of unfortunate posturing by the US. India is coming of age and its foreign policy, driven by regional growth is testimony to Dr. Singh's vision for India

from:  Gita
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 03:54 IST

Nice idea. India should do what is needed for the country and not to worry about USA's interest.

from:  Premclement
Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 03:49 IST
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