Given the considerable potential and growing importance of trans-energy transport infrastructure, this article, the first in a two-part series, highlights the various projects and initiatives designed to shape the main routes and corridors of the North-South axis. The oldest and most defined initiative is the North-South International Transportation Corridor (INSTC), which is the subject of a thorough review in this report, including its context, justification and current status. The Ashgabat agreement, which in fact gave INTC a third boost, is also included in this debate. The second part of the series will include two other complementary initiatives: the Chabahar International Transportation and Transit Corridor; and the proposed Russian-Pakistani Corridor (Ru-Pak). Belarus has reached an agreement with Azerbaijan to streamline rail transport between the two countries and the two countries have set up working groups on tariffs and technologies for this purpose. The INSTC route accounts for 96 per cent of its bilateral trade. The port of Chabahar, Iran, has established a trade link between India and Afghanistan since 2017 without having to cross Pakistani territory.   The agreement between the three countries was first signed in 2015.  For India, the corridor is a growing priority. On the one hand, it can help compensate China`s BIS; On the other hand, it serves Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s more confident and projective foreign policy attitude. India`s increasing attention to Central Asia, as evidenced by the conclusion of a five-year roadmap with Kyrgyzstan, the opening of a Kazakh investment office in New Delhi, the introduction of an India-Central Asia format, and ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement with the EAEU. Speaking at the 2019 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bchkek, Modi took the step of a strategic artery and met with Putin to discuss on the sidelines of INSTC.
Indian Railways plans to modernize its network in partnership with RDZ Russian Railways, which needs a study to transform the 575-kilometre Nagpur-Secunderabad line into a high-speed or high-performance train. The Ashgabat agreement will also help to ensure India`s energy needs by diversifying the import market. However, India should not limit itself to expanding trade and trade, but should aim to promote investment and services by linking sources of raw materials, production centres and markets between India and the Eurasian region as a whole. India`s accession to the Ashgabat agreement comes a month after the inauguration on 3 December 2017 of the first phase of the Shahid Beheshti terminal in the port of Chabahar, which had been funded to the tune of $85 million. With the commissioning of the Shahid Beheshti terminal and India`s accession to the Ashgabat Agreement, a greater prospect now opens up to expand Chabahar`s operational and practical areas to become a vital gateway and the shortest land route to Central Asia. As far as Eurasia is concerned, container transport plays an important role and, in order for India to be in line with the competitive situation of the Euro-Asian transit system, it is essential to actively participate in transport projects. India`s approach to connectivity should not be limited to increased trade and trade, but should aim to improve investment and services, link sources of raw materials, production centres and markets between India and Eurasia. For example, a free trade agreement between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) could stimulate the free flow of raw materials as well as the inflow of capital and technology through new industrial infrastructure along the Chabahar and INSTC routes. In March 2016, the Indian government applied for permission to join the agreement.