India's road to influence in Central Asia runs through Iran -- literally.
New Delhi is pushing to set up a transport network that runs through Iran into Central Asia, and will connect Europe to Asia in half the time required by today's route through Egypt's Suez Canal, India's Economic Times reports.
And that means India is hardly showing signs of buckling under US pressure to toe the line on economic sanctions against Tehran.
"The project envisages a multi-modal transportation network that connects ports on India's west coast to Bandar Abbas in Iran, then overland to Bandar Anzali port on the Caspian Sea; thence through Rasht and Astara on the Azerbaijan border onwards to Kazakhstan, and further onwards towards Russia," the paper writes.
The 14 stakeholder countries in the region have already approved the so-called International North-South Corridor, and experts from all the countries will meet in New Delhi on March 29 to firm up the details.