Ashgabat Agreement a multimodal international agreement aiming at the establishment of Transport and Transit corridor between Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Oman and Iran. The agreement was signed in the year 2011 with the objective of enhancing connectivity in the Eurasian region and synchronising it with the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), Eurasian Railway Connectivity, Hajigak-Chabahar Railway and also the other transport corridors. It derives its name from the capital city of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat. Qatar withdrew from the agreement in the year 2013 and in 2015, Kazakhstan joined the agreement. The Ashgabat agreement establishes a transport and transit corridor between countries in the Persian Gulf and the Central Asia.
- The agreement came into force in 2016.
- Turkmenistan is the depository state for the agreement.
- An Instrument of accession was deposited with Turkmenistan by India in the year 2016 after receiving an approval from the Union cabinet to accede to the agreement in March 2016. It had formally requested to join the agreement then. India in 2018 joined the Ashgabat agreement with the approval of the founding members.
- Pakistan is also a member to the agreement since the year 2016.
Benefits of being a party to the Ashgabat Agreement to India:
- India’s efforts of implementation of the International North South Transport Corridor (NSTC) for enhancing the connectivity would be synchronized.
- It would help India in utilising this international transit corridor for facilitating international trade and at the same time enhance commercial interactions in the Eurasian region.
- India would get an opportunity to reorient the freight traffic to the transcontinental land routes from the conventional Sea routes.
- The operation of a multi-purpose terminal at Chabahar including India’s plan to build a 610 km north-south railway from Chabahar to Zahedan couldn’t have been realised unless India joined a Central Asian-led transport mechanism.
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