India to hold meeting with Iran, Russia to implement International North South Transport Corridor
India has not only been engaged in tough negotiations to secure a waiver from US sanctions for its oil imports from Iran but has also explored mechanisms to secure its interests in the strategic Chabahar Port should Washington decide not to exempt the project from the curbs. In the backdrop of Iran’s significance as a key gateway to Eurasian region, India will hold a ministerial-level meeting with Tehran and Moscow this month to implement the much-delayed International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC). ET has learnt that Indian officials held detailed discussions with the US on the one hand and with Iran-Afghanistan on the other to continue and expand its presence at Chabahar Port. The US hasn’t committed to granting a waiver for the use of Chabahar port by India and Afghanistan. While the port does not yield revenue for Iran from the sale of oil, the Indian entities involved in expanding the port complex will not find it easy to function if it comes under sanctions. During the past month, India has looked at ways to safeguard its interests at Chabahar Port if no waiver is granted for the project, which is New Delhi’s key gateway to Afghanistan. Kabul is also a party to the project through a trilateral mechanism.Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, while addressing an Indo-Pacific connectivity meet here on Thursday, minced no words in announcing that India will continue to use Chabahar Port as part of its wider Indo-Pacific connectivity project. It is understood that hard negotiations by India and its refusal to be threatened by sanctions led to the US waiver for oil purchased from Iran for the next few months for the country and seven other consumers as well. However, engagement with Iran is significant also in pursuance of India’s strategic interest in the wider Eurasian region, sources pointed out. A ministerial-level meeting for implementation of INSTC, the first of its kind in many years, is likely to be held in Russia in the fourth week of November, ET has learnt. INSTC is the shortest multimodal transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf via Iran to Russia and Europe, according to officials here.