NEW DELHI: Looking forward to increase regional connectivity, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said that talks are on to have rail connectivity between New Delhi-Kathmandu and Kolkata-Kathmandu and other neighbouring nations.
Speaking at the two-day meeting on “Strengthening Railway Transport Connectivity in South and South West Asia”, Prabhu said that connectivity and integration of trade gives huge growth, it is interesting to see how we can participate in this process.
“Physical connectivity is required for market integration and Railways can transport huge capacity as compared to other modes of transport. South Asia is most populous and when goods and services will grow, GDP will also grow in this region,” said the minister.
He said that the idea is to bring rail connectivity in South Asia which will be beneficial for the economy and Centre’s priority is to develop connectivity between Kathmandu and New Delhi, Kolkata & Kathmandu.
“We are exploring the connectivity between India, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Connectivity between the countries in South Asia and South East Asia will be helpful for poverty alleviation and economy in this region,” he added.
Emphasising on cooperation of the partner countries, Prabhu said that the international rail transport proposals of ESCAP under the Trans-Asian Railway network assumes special significant in this context.
“Of particular importance is the proposal of an Istanbul to Dhaka rail route, also known as the ITI-DKD rail corridor,” he said.
India hosts an important segment of this rail route.
“The most important feature of this proposal is that while this main rail corridor traverses the length of Southern Asia, it offers multimodal linkages with neighbouring sub regions, particularly catering to the transit requirements of landlocked countries of our neighbourhood,” he added.
The meeting sought to review and identify innovative measures to strengthen cross-border railway transport within South and South-West Asia; which is one of the least connected and integrated sub regions in the world despite its vast contiguous landmass.