INSTC- SHOCK TO CHINA & PAKISTAN

Introduction 

India and Russia are strategic partners for many decades, even during the Cold War era. After the independence of India, when the western world alienated India, USSR stood with us to build a modern India through Five Year plans of industrial and agricultural infrastructural development. To cement our friendship , both the great nations have entered into a unique partnership which could give a face-lift to the entire region giving our traditional enemy countries sleepless nights. Both nations have inched closer to making the “International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC)” a reality – connecting India with Russia and Europe via Iran – a dry run of container movement via the green corridor (smooth customs facilitation) may be conducted soon, marking the 70th anniversary of Indo-Russian diplomatic ties this month. This joint venture could be a slap on the faces of China and Pakistan, whose CPEC is a similar ambitious project which passed through POK, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan.
 How INSTC will benefit both Nations 
INSTC will substantially reduce time taken and cost for transport of goods between India and Eurasia, once fully functional and increase economic activities between India and the resource-rich Russia as well as markets of Europe.
INSTC is a land-and sea-based 7,200-km long network comprising rail, road and water routes that are aimed at reducing costs and travel time for freight transport in a bid to boost trade between Russia, Iran, Central Asia, India and Europe.The network is expected to provide faster and more efficient trade connectivity between Europe and Southeast Asia.
A study, conducted by the Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India, showed that INSTC will be 30% cheaper and 40% shorter than the existing routes.
Present Status
INSTC has moved closer to implementation after India decided to join international customs convention TIR following cabinet approval. The modalities of making INSTC functional was discussed at a multi-stakeholder meeting recently, people familiar with the developments reported. INSTC is one of corridors that Delhi is working on as part of connectivity initiatives parallel to China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ strategy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi might visit Astrakhan entry point of INSTC in Russia during his June trip to St Petersburg for International Economic Forum. India and Russia celebrates 70 years of diplomatic ties on April 13 and a series of events and visits are planned through the year 2017.
Last October, Russia’s JSC RZD Logistics, Iran Railways, Azerbaijan Railways and logistics company ADY Express organised the first test shipment on the INSTC. The train left Mumbai on September 22 and arrived in Russia’s Kaluga Region on October 12. The transit time was 23 days. India and Russia currently use maritime routes for freight transport at the moment, with goods reaching their destination in about 40 days.
Containers with industrial radiators were sent by sea from Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, then transported by rail to Iran’s Rasht station and from there delivered by road to Astara (Azerbaijan), reloaded on the railway and finally delivered to the destination in Russia.
Earlier, dry runs on two routes of INSTC were conducted in 2014, the first from Mumbai to Baku via Bandar Abbas and the second from Mumbai to Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas, Tehran and Bandar Anzali. Chabahar port in Iran once functional and connected to the Iranian Railway network will also be part of INSTC.
Shock for China and Pakistan
China and Pakistan are building CPEC for many years now. Pakistan has provided it’s Gwadar Port to China and it is supposed to be used for Commercial and Military use as well.
China is investing heavily on CPEC, as per estimates China will invest approx 45 Billion Dollars on CPEC. China was also trying to open the old ‘Silk Route’ to ensure its reach to Middle-Asian and European Countries.
Conclusion 
With this historic joint venture by India and Russia, China’s all hopes of gaining supremacy in Asia, will be dashed forever. India will gain a safe route to Central Asian and European countries. Also India will be able to reach Afghanistan via Iran. It will help India to encircle Pakistan from 3 fronts. China’s huge investment in CPEC seems to be in a big jeopardy now.

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