April 20, 2024
  • Russia and Iran have signed a deal to build an Iranian railway line, the Rasht-Astara railway as part of International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
  • It is intended to connect India, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan and other countries via railways and sea – forming a route that can rival the Suez Canal as a major global trade route.

ABOUT RASHT ASTRA RAILWAY

  • It is a 162km railway that will connect the city of Rasht (Iran) near the Caspian Sea, to Astara (Azerbaijan) on the border with Azerbaijan.
  • Transportation along the new corridor will substantially cut travel times and costs and help develop new logistics chains.
  • It would help to connect Russian ports on the Baltic Sea with Iranian ports in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf.
  • It is an important and strategic step in the direction of cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

 

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL NORTH–SOUTH TRANSPORT CORRIDOR

  • It is a 7,200-kilometer multi-modal transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran and onward to northern Europe via St. Petersburg in Russia.
  • It was launched in September 2000 in St. Petersburg, by Iran, Russia and India for the purpose of promoting transportation cooperation among the Member States.
  • Since then, INSTC membership has expanded to include 10 more countries – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Syria, Belarus, and Oman.
    • Bulgaria has been included as an observer state. The Baltic countries like Latvia and Estonia have also expressed willingness to join.
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