Ashgabat Agreement India: Members, Features & Purpose

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Ashgabat Agreement is a multimodal transport agreement. It aims at easing the transportation of goods by developing the international transport and transit corridor between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. Ashgabat Agreement led to the construction of the railway lines, harmonising multiple important projects. It further developed the connectivity of Central Asia and Eurasia with the Gulf and INSTC.

All these important trade connections were only possible through the Ashgabat Agreement. In this article, we have covered the member countries of the Ashgabat Agreement, India’s role, etc that would be important for the UPSC exam.

What is Ashgabat Agreement?

Ashgabat Agreement is a multimodal transport agreement among the governments of countries – Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Oman, Qatar, and India for establishing the international transport and transit corridor. It is done to facilitate the transportation of products between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

  • The Ashgabat Agreement was inaugurated in 2011 but started in April 2016.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement is the key to the positive beginning of commercial trade and the improvement of transportation between India with Central Asia.

Background of The Ashgabat Agreement

Ashgabat Agreement was originally signed between Iran, Oman, Qatar, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in 2011.

  • In 2014, the Ashgabat Agreement was given additional assistance by signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which explained various fields such as legal procedure and judicial, infrastructure, etc., considering the trade and transit agreement.
  • Kazakhstan’s appearance has widened the agreement’s importance by expanding it forward to Central Asia, Russia, and China’s borders.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement includes the aspects of land transport or railway links heading through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Turkmenistan. Among these, ITK(Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan) is the significant railway route.
  • North Turkmenistan connects to Uzen in Kazakhstan with Gorgan in South Iran through the ITK railway line.
  • In December 2014, ITK is considered a running railway line and also the fragment of the International North-South Transport Corridor sponsored by India.

Features of the Ashgabat Agreement

Russia, Iran, and India are three strategic pillars of this great organization for the projects of north-south connectivity, for which vast responsibility has to abide by them. Features of Ashgabat Agreement are:

  • There should constant coordination between the 14 member states of the INSTC needs to be continued.
  • For more efficiency of the International North-South Transport Corridor, the newly joined members from the region should be motivated.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement improves economic ties and trade by prioritizing and identifying the importance of rectifying old routes and building missing links, which are the major issues for the betterment.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement countries need to discuss long-term agreements for both bilateral and regional phases. It is done to verify the ability of the corridor in the future.

Ashgabat Agreement Member Countries

The counties Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Oman are the signing members of the Ashgabat Agreement. In contrast, Turkmenistan, being one of the Ashgabat Agreement members, is the repository state of the agreement.

  • Originally, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Oman, and Qatar signed the Ashgabat Agreement on April 25, 2011.
  • Later, in 2013, Qatar left the agreement; meanwhile, Kazakhstan appealed for the partnership in the same year, which was finally accepted in 2015.
  • Pakistan also merged with the agreement in November 2016.
  • India’s official joining as an Ashgabat Agreement member was in February 2018.

Ashgabat Agreement India

The official joining of India in the Ashgabat Agreement was in February 2018. The main objective behind joining the Ashgabat Agreement was to organize

“air corridors ” among the five countries of Central Asia with India. It led to the formation of the Ashgabat Agreement of India.

  • Sushma Swaraj, the external affairs minister of India, has taken part in the India-Central Asia Dialogue in Samarkand, Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • Along with the five states of Central Asia, Afghanistan also joined the Ashgabat Agreement meeting.
  • The conversation discussed several problems and the appropriate approaches for improving the connection and maintaining war-torn Afghanistan.

Characteristics of India-Central Asia Dialogue

Now, we will be discussing the characteristics of India-Central Asia. The characteristics of the Ashgabat Agreement India are as follows:

  • In 2020, India-Central Asia Dialogue was hosted by India.
  • India has offered to assemble the ‘India-Central Asia Development Group’ to come forward for the growth of cooperation among India and the states of Central Asia.
  • The surrounding countries of Central Asia are recommended for air corridor dialogue by India to endeavour the upliftment of trade below $2 billion.
  • India has also urged Central Asia Republics to engage in the project of Chabahar Port.

What is the purpose of the Ashgabat Agreement?

  • The main purpose of the Ashgabat Agreement is to build an international corridor to facilitate the transition of products through the shortest trade route between the states of Central Asia and the sea routes of the Persian Gulf and Oman.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement looks after the trade hurdles and simplifies the process of transportation of goods between the member countries.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement will permit India to develop connectivity with the Eurasian region by transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial conversation.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement will contemporize India’s attempt to settle the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for better connectivity.
  • Iran, Afghanistan, and India assumed Chabahar as a means of connection for the transportation of goods that would reach Afghanistan.
  • Additionally, North to Central Asia states and the surrounding countries of Central Asia received the accession of ocean routes through this port.

What were the transportation developments under the Ashgabat Agreement?

Turkmenistan is striving to amalgamate its stance as a crucial regional transit and transport centre and has formerly enhanced the geographical region with numerous rail projects. The established projects under the Ashgabat Agreement are-

  • The formation of the railway line from Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan (TAT) took place in 2013.
  • The construction of a transportation corridor from Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey in 2014.
  • In 2014, the construction of the railroad of Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan

TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) encompasses the EU and 14 Eastern European and Central Asian states.

Ashgabat Agreement UPSC

The Ashgabat Agreement is an important topic concerning Indian polity and international relations that come under the UPSC Mains and UPSC Prelims. The question papers contain many questions about the Ashgabat Agreement in the UPSC Exams. Download the UPSC Question Paper to revise and practise similar questions.

Ashgabat Agreement UPSC Questions

Question – Which is the depository state of the Ashgabat Agreement?

  1. Qatar
  2. Turkmenistan
  3. Oman
  4. None of the above

Answer – B

Question – When did the Ashgabat Agreement come into force?

  1. In April 2016
  2. In September 2017
  3. In February 2020
  4. None of the above

Answer – A

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