HPAS Mains GS 2: International Relations
Question: Assess the significance of Ashgabat Agreement for India. 8 Marks
The Ashgabat Agreement signed on 25 April 2011 between the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Sultanate of Oman, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan seeks to establish an International Transport and Transit Corridor.
Ashgabat Agreement envisages facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.With India joining it in February 2018, its membership reached to six including Iran,Kazakhstan, Oman, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Significance for India joining the Agreement
Connectivity and Trade: Accession to the Agreement would diversify India’s connectivity options with Central Asia and have a positive influence on India’s trade and commercial ties with the region and larger Eurasia It would also enable India to utilise the existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interactions with the Eurasian region.
Strategic benefit: This agreement would give India strategic reach as India would have access to strait of Hormuz Also, it would be helpful in India’s quest to further connect Afghanistan.
Enhanced cooperation: With the establishment of North-South corridor, it will increase north south cooperation encompassing ship, rail including Trans-Caspian railway, and road route.
Ease of doing business: It shall also include easing of trade barriers and simple procedures for movement of goods between signatory states.
Energy security: It will augment India’s reach to Persian Gulf where India is developing Chabahar port in Iran. This may be further leveraged to extract mineral resources from Hajigak reserve in Afghanistan and reserves in middle east.
Conclusion: India’s intention to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement was to sync India’s Look West policy in tune with its Connect Central Asia policy. India’s Accession to the Agreement would diversify India’s connectivity options with Central Asia and have a positive influence on India’s trade and commercial ties with the Central-Asian region majorly.
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