Yesterday India became the 71st country to join the United Nations TIR Convention, the international customs transit system, to firmly establish itself as a regional trading and transit hub. The TIR system is the international customs transit system with the widest geographical coverage.

Similar to other customs transit procedures, the TIR procedure enables goods to move under customs control across international borders without the payment of the duties and taxes.

In a world where China's 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) is the dominating project straddling economics and geopolitics, India has no option but to play an alternative strategy if it wants to be counted as a serious rising power, Times of India said Tuesday.

One of the persistent problems for India's connectivity projects has been the disconnect between transport and customs systems with different countries.

Once the systems are integrated with global norms, India reckons it will become easier to service African and Asian markets when the DMIC (Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor) comes online.

It will give life to the International North-South Transport Corridor and the Chabahar project that India has been working on for some time.

China joined the TIR in 2016 when its giant inter-regional connectivity projects began to take off.

Joining the convention "would be a major economic boost to South Asia, eventually connecting the region to the rest of the world. It could become a key link between South and South-East Asia, particularly as China is already a TIR member, and connects transit routes east to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and beyond", the newspaper commented.