19:40 GMT30 May 2020
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    Russia, India and Iran will meet later this month to discuss a cheaper and shorter alternative to the traditional Suez Canal route. According to the Iranian news agency Press TV, the nations will talk about the operation of an International North-South Transport Corridor.

    Sputnik has spoken about the profitability of the International North-South Transport Corridor for the sides involved with Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, Chairperson of the Forum for Indian Development Cooperation and former dean at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

    Sputnik: What is your assessment of this project and its profitability for the sides involved?  How do they win from this?

    Anuradha Chenoy: India and Russia have been talking about a North-South corridor and its importance for many, many years but somehow the connection was not being made because initially it was thought that it would have to cut across Pakistan, which was not for India's convenience because of the security risks that that involved, or through Afghanistan or through that region, that was one.  Second, there was a proposal for an India-Pakistan-Iran route and that also did not really take place. So this is actually the best alternative.

    I think both India and Russia with Iran have now worked out a very good deal. It will be economically extremely beneficial for all the countries involved. It will be of economic and commercial interest by way of transport, container technologies and I think there's a lot of opening and scope for this.

    Sputnik: The Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry earlier voiced India's wish to use the corridor as soon as possible, why is New Delhi interested in quick implementation of the project? We know, that obviously, the situation geopolitically and that affects it economically is somewhat in a malaise at the moment and I would've thought that India with its development growth, its huge economy wants to try and push on with this I would imagine, what's your take on it?

    Anuradha Chenoy: Well, look a project like must be executed quickly, otherwise there could be bottlenecks and there could be problems, and if the benefits have to come then there should not be infrastructure delays and hurdles on making this project. Secondly, strategically I think it's very important at a time when Russia and Iran are being sanctioned and there's pressure on India not to trade with them.

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    I think it's in the interest of Russia and Iran to quickly make a deal so that there's not too much pressure from the American side on Indians because Indians do have good relations with the Americans. They're trying to build their relations with the Americans and the Americans are bound to pressure them and tell them not to do it. Therefore, it would be of interest really of all three to do it as quickly as possible, to seal it and to start the project and start having investments in it.

    Sputnik: We can certainly understand the positives in this particular move, now obviously if that was to happen this is going to have a reaction and what kind of a reaction can we expect from other countries, specifically the United States in this particular matter?

    Anuradha Chenoy: Well, look the United States earlier had also threatened India with sanctions about the S-400 platforms and about oil in Iran, but India somehow, kind of maneuvered diplomatically past these. The thing is, the US also has interest in exporting different weapons and other things to India. They have a huge trade with India and now that they are suffering because of the trade wars with China, surely, they wouldn't like to have another set of trade wars with India because that will impact them adversely also.

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    Of course, India is going to put counterpressure saying that, okay, we will increase trade with you but don't intervene and India has a policy of non-intervention and no conditionality on issues like trade and their own sovereignty. So I think India has the capacity to say, you know, you can go hang or in very nice diplomatic terms give us or we can have a bypass law, you can have some waiver sanction and they'll be forced to do it, because here India has strength and leverage.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Anuradha Chenoy and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    transport corridor, trade, S-400, Pakistan, India, Iran, Russia
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