Money Matters: Discussing the Economics of the INSTC

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India, Iran and Russia have decided to begin using the part-ready International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a multimodal network of sea, rail and road routes between India, Iran, Central Asia and Russia. As the broader politics in the region undergo new configurations that may put to question the project’s prospects, and the evolving security situation demands continuous appraisal, it is time to refocus discussion on the economics of the INSTC initiative. Not only is this a factor easier to evaluate—which will determine ground implementation as well as the corridor’s present and potential scope—it is also, as this paper contends, the ideal angle with which to pursue the initiative. This paper examines the commercial advantages of a transport corridor and discusses factors that, if taken into consideration, strengthen INSTC’s economic case. The paper concludes by juxtaposing the potential economic merits of the corridor against the broader geopolitics of the region.


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