On the right track: India, China sign pact to develop railways

china-trainSpeed, Scale and Skill – Indian Railway is set for an upgrade and high-speed journey, with more than a little help from China.

After wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping, the two Asian neighbours signed a pact in New Delhi September 18 for bolstering cooperation between the two countries in the railway sector.

The pact envisages, among other things, increasing  speed on the existing railway line from Chennai to Mysore via Bangalore and China providing  training in heavy haul for 100 Indian Railway officials. The two sides also plan to cooperate in areas such as redevelopment of existing railway stations and establishment of a railway university in India. Given China’s success in setting up high-speed trains, India agreed to explore the possibility of a High Speed Rail project with China’s assistance.

rail-india-chinaThe two Asian giants also signed an action plan that has identified specific projects for cooperation in railway sector.

In the last five years China has constructed the world’s largest high speed rail network. Between 2006 and 2011 China also added 14,000 kilometre of track.

On the other hand, the development and modernization of India’s railways has not kept pace with the growth of India’s economy. Since 1947, when India became independent, it has added less that 11,000 km of track

India has also invited Japan to invest in India’s infrastructural development, including the introduction of bullet trains. However, experts says that China provides a far cheaper alternative to Japan. In a pragmatic vein, Prime Minister Modi is courting both China and Japan to widen India’s developmental options. India needs speed, skill and scale to compete with China, Modi has famously said.




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