India has become the 71st country to ratify the United Nations International Convention on Road Transports (TIR) that will help boost trade and regional integration across South Asia and beyond, fast-tracking the region’s potential to become a strategic trade hub. TIR is the global standard for goods customs transit managed and developed by IRU, International Road Transport Union. Speaking on India’s acceptance of the body, IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto said that he is delighted to welcome India into the TIR family of nations and it is a significant step in harmonising standards and boosting transport, trade and development across South Asia. The accession to the TIR Convention is part of India’s multi-modal transport strategy that aims to integrate the economy with global and regional production networks through better connectivity. The last country to ratify the convention before India was China, which did so on 6 July 2016.
TIR will help India to integrate with Myanmar and Thailand as well as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.It will also enable India to move cargo along the International North-South Transport Corridor via Chabahar port in Iran, to access land-locked Afghanistan and the energy-rich Eurasian region. TIR Convention will come into force in India in six months and IRU will begin work with Indian partners on training, development and outreach efforts to facilitate prompt implementation. According to a study in the UNESCAP region, it is estimated that implementing TIR could generate economic benefits ranging from 0.14 to 1.31 per cent of national GDP. Adopting TIR in selected UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) countries including India will save USD 35 billion in transit costs over five years.