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Russia looks to boost trade with India via North-South corridor

India criticised sanctions while praising its historic partnership with Russia.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Once carried out, the project of the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) will contribute to the economic partnership between Moscow and New Delhi as it tackles long distance, which has been holding these relations back, Amarendra Parida, the spokesman of the Indian Embassy in Russia, said Tuesday.

 “We recognize that geography is a factor. Both sides are working on the project of International North–South Transport Corridor. Once it’s realized, we are sure that it will give a big boost to trade between India and Russia … the potential is definitely there,” Parida told reporters during a press conference on Days of India in Russia.

Russia and India have very strong ties in trade and investments and it is only a question of time before it improves even more, the spokesman added.

At the same press conference, President of the Indian Business Alliance (IBA) Sammy Kotwani criticized the approach of imposing sanctions on countries by other states.

“We realize, who our friends are, and I’m sure that businesses will grow very fast. Indian businessmen who work with Russia understand that sanctions imposed by one country on another – it’s not a right thing,” Kotwani said.

The IBA official added that the association recognized only the sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

The International North–South Transport Corridor is a network of transport routes connecting Central Asian nations, European states, India, Iran and Russia. The main goal of the project is to improve the transport links and consequently connectivity between the countries involved in the project. According to the project’s website, it was agreed in 2000 in St. Petersburg.

In 2017, Moscow and New Delhi celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Celebrating the anniversary, both sides have organized special events throughout the year – both cultural and economic.

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As The Duran reported,

“The problem with the North-South corridor is not that it is a bad idea but that it is an incomplete idea, a mere parcel which is dwarfed by One Belt–One Road which will in one form or another, connect all of the countries in question while also linking the aforementioned trade hubs to the wider world including those in East Asia and the western frontiers of Eurasia, as well as maritime routes linking the Asian and African sides of the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal.

As with many of the self-styled ‘big ideas’ coming out of  Modi’s India, the problem is not so much that the ideas are bad but rather that the ‘big ideas’ are rather quite limited and limiting. While China’s One Belt–One Road is literally a global land and sea super-highway, India’s North-South corridor is by comparison a small, however important roundabout.

This is proof positive that India would only benefit by linking its own ambitious infrastructure and trade projects with the larger one being built by China and her partners. In a competition between a set of important regions and the wider world, the latter will always be more vital and more attractive to potential partners.

This is why if India cooperated with Russia, India could make the most of its own ambitions while reaping the benefits afforded to all nations, but particularly to large nations which are part of One Belt–One Road.

If India insists on sitting out of One Belt–One Road, the road will simply circumvent India via the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, thus affording increased benefits to India’s regional rival that could otherwise be distributed across South Asia.

India is only selling itself short by trying to sell the world an alternative to One Belt–One Road. In this sense, One Belt–One Road can function without India, but India cannot function at its optimum potential outside of One Belt–One Road”.

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