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BRICS members need to strengthen transport connectivity to grow trade : Vijay Kalantri

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ST. PETERSBURG : India, Russia, Iran and other BRICS member countries need to collaborate in order to strengthen logistics and transport connectivity to reduce cost and time consumed in cross-border trade, said Dr Vijay Kalantri, Chairman, Russia India Trade House Mumbai (RITHM).

India, Iran and Russia may collaborate to strengthen multi-modal transport connectivity along the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC). This corridor passes through Iran and Central Asia and it is 30% cheaper and 40% shorter than the Suez Canal route. Particularly, we need to expedite construction of the 164-km railway line between Rasht and Astara via Anzali. Also, the member countries need to collaborate to complete the 628-km-long railway line to connect Chabahar Port with the Iranian railway system (Zahedan railway line). These projects will strengthen the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and reduce logistics time and freight cost for trading among India, Iran and Central Asian countries,” said Dr Kalantri, who is President, All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai Director —World Trade Centre Association New York.

Speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum 2024 (SPIEF’24), he proposed various measures to foster strong business ties between India, Russia and other BRICS countries.

In January 2024, 5 other countries namely —Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined BRICS.

Other than Saudi and UAE, none of these countries rank as the top 25 trade partners of India. Their entry into BRICS forum holds tremendous business opportunities for Indian MSMEs, Dr Kalantri pointed out.

“BRICS forum should cooperate in energy security, artificial intelligence, cyber security, blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies. India can export its fintech technologies and solutions to BRICS countries for financial inclusion.

“Also, BRICS countries should deploy e-commerce platforms for MSMEs to trade digitally without much barrier. We should also promote trade settlement in local currency among BRICS countries,” he said.

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