The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 23 March 2016 gave its approval for India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement. The Agreement is an international and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
India’s accession to the Agreement would enable it to utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region.
Further, it would also synchronise India’s efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity.
India’s intention to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement would now be conveyed to the Depository State (Turkmenistan) and upon the consent of the founding members only India would become party to the Agreement.
What is Ashgabat Agreement?
• It was initially signed among Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Oman and Qatar in April 2011.
• It was given additional support in 2014 when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed.
• Qatar withdrew from the agreement in 2013 and Kazakhstan joined the agreement later.
• The agreement aims to develop a shortest trade route between Central Asian countries and Iranian and Omani ports.
• The Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan (ITK) railway line will be the major route according to the Ashgabat Agreement, which became operational in December 2014
Ashgabat is the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan in Central Asia between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range. It was known as Poltoratsk between 1919 and 1927.
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When: 23 March 2016