A few days ago, India became a new member of the Ashgabat agreement. The Ashgabat agreement is an important part of India’s look west policy and will act as an instrument to explore the new possibilities lies in Central Asia. This agreement would help India to boost her trade and commerce relationship with its member countries. Apart from giving the access of Central Asia, this agreement will open the doors of Europe through Istanbul.
What is Ashgabat Agreement?
Ashgabat agreement is an establishment of an International Transport and Transit Corridor between Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. This agreement envisages the facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. There are six Central Asian countries who are the member of this group. These countries are Oman, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan.
Why is this agreement important for India?
- Inclusion of India into the Ashgabat agreement would diversify India’s connectivity with Central Asia and would bring a positive impact on India’s trade and commercial ties with the region.
- Apart from connecting India to Central Asia, It will enable India to utilize the existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region.
- This agreement would also synchronize India’s efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity. This synchronization would further help India to spread her feet in Russia through road and railways connectivity.
- This agreement would give access of Lapis Lazuli corridor, a historic corridor that connects Afghanistan with Europe.
- It would also help India to boost her Look West policy in the Eurasian region and in near future, it would open the new doors for a strategic partnership with its member countries.
- Accession to the Ashgabat agreement can be seen as an alternate option of China’s proposed, China – Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Accession would also help India to maintain Balance of Power (BoP) in the region and would reduce China’s growing hegemony in Central Asia.
Ashgabat agreement can be seen as an opportunity for India to counter China’s CPEC project, which is passing through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (Pok).
Reduction of transportation costs would help India to enhance her commercial interest in the region. An enhanced trade would bring new opportunities for youth by creating new jobs, which would help India to reduce poverty.
Image Source: The Indian Wire