09:22 GMT22 October 2020
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    India’s Minister of Commerce Suresh Prabhu, while meeting a high-level Russian business delegation in New Delhi, hoped that the operationalization of INSTC, the shortest multimodal transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf via Iran to Russia and North Europe will transform the business activities in the region.

    The International North-South Corridor (INSTC) will be operationalized very soon as New Delhi, Tehran and Moscow are hopeful of removing all the hurdles in next trilateral meet scheduled on November 23. 

    "In the 23rd November 2018 trilateral meeting on INSTC all issues may be resolved in order to operationalize the route as early as possible," Suresh Prabhu, India's Commerce Minister said.

    Trade representatives, policymakers and officials of India, Russia, and Iran had held a closed-door meeting in Moscow on October 19 on the range of regional issues including operationalization of the corridor which can transport an estimated 20 to 30 million tonnes of goods per year. The corridor will reduce time and cost by 30% to 40%.

    Days after the trilateral meet in Moscow, New Delhi along with Tehran and Kabul had clearly indicated that they were not going to slow down their interaction under US sanction threat. The three countries, at the first trilateral meeting of the Coordination Council of the Chabahar agreement in Tehran on October 23, have referred the relevant clauses of the 2016 Chabahar agreement to a follow-up committee to finalize the draft protocol required to harmonise standards and customs to "fully operationalize" the strategic Iranian port.

    India has put high stakes on developing the Chabahar Port in Iran as it will provide a crucial transit point in INSTC and some other connectivity projects aimed at increasing Indian trade with Central Asia.

    READ MORE: Iran Calls for Crucial Meeting on International North-South Transport Corridor

    Meanwhile, during the 19th Annual Bilateral Summit held in New Delhi on October 5, India and Russia called for the development of the 16-year old agreement on INSTC "…by finalizing pending issues…through bilateral discussions as well as discussions with other partner countries at the earliest".

    India's Minister of Commerce Prabhu has said that there is immense potential for the two countries to further expand economic ties and move beyond buyer — seller relationship.

    "There is a possibility for Russian investments in Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, smart cities, railways, public transport, sanitation and low cost housing," Suresh Prabhu said before the Russian delegation.

    India's pharma exports to Russia constitute a sizable chunk but possibilities of joint investments are being considered by leading Indian pharma companies under Russia's Pharma 2020 program. 

    Commerce Minister Prabhu also explained the procedure and policy for establishing the green field and brown field airports in tier-II and III cities in India. Russian investments may also be explored in the pilot training center coming up in the country. India has invited Russian aerospace companies to participate in the global aviation summit to be held in January 2019.


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