By Ahmet Dursun
ANKARA (AA) – Russia has granted a loan of €3 billion ($3.4 billion) in order to finance the project that will connect India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia via sea, rail and road route, an Iranian minister said Tuesday.
Speaking to media, Mohammad Eslami, the Iranian minister of roads and urban development, said International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project will be discussed by the officials from Iran, Russia, India and Azerbaijan during the Transportation Week being held in Russia.
Eslami pointed out that there would be trilateral meetings within this framework.
"Stretching from Chabahar Port [of Afghanistan] and connecting India with Russia through Iran and Azerbaijan, it [INSTC] is a very important mechanism between Iran, India and Russia," he asserted.
The minister went on to say that Russia provided a credit of $3 billion for the development of the project, noting that there were talks on attracting Russian investment to the important railway projects in Iran.
The INSTC, with a length of 7,200 kilometers (4,473 miles), is aimed at creating optimal opportunities for the transport of transit cargo from India, Iran, the Gulf countries through the territories of Azerbaijan and Russia to countries of northern and western Europe.
Russia, Central Asia and India are expected to improve their commercial cooperation with the help of the transport corridor.
* Ali Murat Alhas has contributed to this story from Ankara.