Improved connectivity helps a nation in many ways. Hence, to establish an international transport and transit corridor, the governments of Kazakhstan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, Sultanate of Oman, India, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan joined hands to create a multimodal transport agreement named the Ashgabat Agreement. The step was originally taken by Iran, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Uzbekistan on 25th April 2011.
However, in 2013, Qatar decided to withdraw from the agreement. During the same year, Kazakhstan applied for membership and became one of the Ashgabat Agreement members two years later. Pakistan and India also became members of this agreement in November 2016 and February 2018, respectively.
Ashgabat Agreement Objectives
The sole purpose of the Ashgabat Agreement is to establish a commerce and transportation corridor by developing the shortest commercial route which connects the Persian Gulf and the CARs (Central Asian Republics).
Both CARs and the Persian Gulf will be supremely benefitted from this agreement as Ashgabat Agreement promises improved communication, cargo, transit, and trade.
The agreement says that the corridor will be multimodal, meaning that it will have road, rail, and sea transit options.
Ashgabat Agreement Connectivity
In order to have enhanced connectivity, the Ashgabat Agreement will synchronize the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) by incorporating ship, rail, and road routes for easy freight movement between Russia, India, Europe, Iran, and Central Asia.
Other than that, this agreement will also leverage the (TAT) Turkmenistan-Tajikistan rail line and Afghanistan–Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey transportation corridor from 2013 and 2014, respectively, as well as the Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan (ITK) railroad and the Transport Corridor of Europe-Caucasus-Asia involving the European Union and 14 Eastern European, Central Asian, and South Caucasus states.
Earlier in 2011, India finalized the proposal to build a 900-km long railway to connect Iran’s Chabahar Port and Afghanistan’s Hajigak region. In 2017, the Chabahar Port of Iran made trading between India and Afghanistan smooth by eliminating the need for both countries to cross through Pakistani territory. The decision was made in the year 2015.
Ashgabat Agreement Duration and Termination
The Ashgabat Agreement will be in effect for ten years, and after that, it will automatically be extended. However, if any of the contracting parties give others a handwritten notice of their decision to cancel the agreement, it will be cancelled after a year.
Improved connectivity is a must to make trade and transportation effortless. The Ashgabat Agreement is like a ray of hope to all the countries that are a part of it. Countries that did not have direct access to the Eurasia region can now open gates to clear rail, road, and sea routes for trade.
FAQs on Ashgabat Agreement
Q.1. What is the Ashgabat Agreement?
Ans. The Ashgabat Agreement is a multimodal transport agreement between the governments of Kazakhstan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, Sultanate of Oman, India, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan for the conduction of international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
Q.2. In which country Ashgabat is situated?
Ans. Ashgabat, formerly known as Ashkhabad or Poltoratsk, is situated in Turkmenistan and is the capital of the same.
Q.3. Which countries are the Ashgabat Agreement members?
Ans. Kazakhstan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, Sultanate of Oman, India, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan are all Ashgabat Agreement members.
Q.4. Which countries were the first to sign the Ashgabat Agreement?
Ans. Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Qatar were the first few countries to join the Ashgabat Agreement in 2011.
Q.5. Who were the founding members of the Ashgabat Agreement?
Ans. The founding members of the Ashgabat Agreement were Iran, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Uzbekistan.
Q.6. What is INSTC?
Ans. The INSTC (International North-South Transport Corridor) is a 7,200 km long multimodal transportation network encompassing rail, road, and sea routes to offer the shortest connectivity route.