Despite Western sanctions on Russia, trade between Russia and India has continued to boom. This has been made possible by the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which has continued to facilitate more trade volumes between Russia and India since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine in February.
As part of the treaty between both countries, Iran Shipping Lines, which linked India and Russia, has facilitated the shipment of over 3,000 tonnes of goods via the INSTC within the last three months.
The 7,200km long network of highways, rail, and sea routes linking India and Russia allowed both countries to continue facilitating trade amid heavy sanctions from the West. According to experts, the INSTC has drastically reduced carriage costs for both nations, with experts putting the figure at around 30%. According to sources, most of the commodities shipped through Iran via the INSTC routes are shipments between India and Russia.
In April this year, Iran Shipping Lines established an operational base to provide shipping services along the INSTC route. Since it commenced business along this route, the company has dedicated 300 vessels to transport goods from Russia to India and vice versa via this route.
India and Russia have continued to encourage the shipment of commodities via INSTC as both believe the move will strengthen bilateral relations between both nations. Meanwhile, the Indian government has continued to push for the inclusion of Chabahar port, which it partly funded to be included in the INSTC route.
The pact to expand the INSTC route
Besides facilitating trades between Russia and India, the INSTC is tipped to significantly improve infrastructure development, including the development of new border checkpoints, improving closer ties with regulators and customs, and developing more cargo consolidation terminals.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently lauded the efficacy of the INSTC route, describing it as a critical connectivity link between Russia, India, and Iran. During the last Caspian Sea Summit, Putin talked about the INSTC and how it has helped both countries maintain bilateral trade agreements despite stiff sanctions from the West.