Turkmenistan plans to join the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) being established by Russia, Iran and India, the Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov stated on August 19, according to Silkroad Briefing. “Today Turkmenistan began the process of joining this agreement,” Meredov said at a briefing on following an international conference of transport ministers from landlocked countries that was held in the Central Asian country on August 15-16.
Meredov said Turkmenistan will continue to work with Russia in areas such as railway, automobile, air and marine transport, and the countries have great potential for cooperation within the context of the North-South corridor. The agreement on the North-South transport corridor was signed by Russia, Iran and India in 1998 and it went into effect in 2000. Meredov also said that development of transportation is a key condition for the sustainable economic growth of countries without access to the sea, references to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, as well as to further expanding the whole range of international relations at the regional and global levels.
Turkmenistan’s role within the INSTC will see its Caspian Sea Turkmenbashi Port become an INSTC node with routes leading east to both Uzbekistan and in time, to Afghanistan. Routes have also been explored that will provide links via Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China.
Goods exiting Turkmenbashi Port can be directed north to markets in Russia via Astrakhan, to the Caucasus, Turkey and European Union through Azerbaijan’s Baku Port, or south via Iran’s Anzali Port to markets throughout Iran, then exiting Iran’s Chabahar Port on the Persian Gulf via the INSTC railway to reach seaports along the Middle East, East Africa, India, and South Asia.