India Exploring Cargo Train to Bangladesh and Rail Lines to Nepal
24 February 2017
India is looking to improve subregional cooperation in South Asia by pushing for better rail connectivity with Nepal and Bangladesh. Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Railways Minister, India, said India is looking to Delhi and Kolkata with Kathmandu by rail in order to strengthen cross-border connectivity and help move people between India and Nepal.
Speaking at the Infrastructure Summit in Kathmandu, Nepal on 19 February 2017, Mr. Prabhu stated that he would prioritize the building of two railway lines, Delhi-Kathmandu and Kolkata-Kathmandu, to increase connectivity between Nepal and India. A bus service launched in 2014 already connects India and Nepal.
Rail movement between India and Nepal would be 30% cheaper than sea freight, according to a 2010 Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation trade logistics study. Mr. Prabhu appealed to the Nepal government and local and foreign investors to increase backing of infrastructure development.
India is also looking to enhance bilateral trade with Bangladesh by enhancing rail connectivity between the two countries. The state-owned Container Corporation of India is exploring ways to run cargo trains in Bangladesh. Currently, there are three rail links that pass through West Bengal and connect to Bangladesh.
The Government of Nepal is prioritizing infrastructure development in the energy and transport sectors, said Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Nepal needs to invest up to $18 billion in infrastructure projects to strengthen economic growth, according to a World Bank report.
The Infrastructure Summit was organized by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries, in association with the Government of Nepal and the Youth Community for Nepalese Contractors.