India, China sign major agreement in railway sector

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) Signalling the onset of a major phase of cooperation between the two giant railway systems of the world, Indian Railways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would give a fillip to its plans for modernisation and technological upgradation.

The MoU, signed in the Chinese capital Beijing this week during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit, is valid for three years and envisages development of rail related programmes of mutual interest, consultations, training and visits to each other's facilities.

Dr. Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao were present when the MOU was signed between Railway Board Chairman K.C. Jena and Mr. Liu Zhijun, the Chinese Minister for Railways.

A ministry official said Indian Railways would seek Chinese expertise in areas like raising of speed on existing routes, development of world-class stations and heavy haul operations.

Another area where China could provide assistance is development of multimodal logistics parks, besides Research and Development.

The official said the Chinese Railways' experience in the areas of signalling and telecommunication, traction supply, high axle load operations, design and maintenance practices, track machines and multi-modal transport in the railway sector would be of benefit to Indian Railways.

Indian Railways has, of late, made tremendous progress in different sectors of its operation, resulting in a phenomenal turnaround, and has now embarked upon a major plan for its modernisation, technological upgradation, capacity enhancement and development of world class services.

''The MOU signed with China will further facilitate progress in these directions,'' the official pointed out.

During the Prime Minister's visit, detailed discussions on all aspects of railway sector were held between Mr Jena and Mr Liu.

''The Chinese side was very enthusiastic on cooperation with Indian Railways and assured all possible assistance and follow up.

In near future, the concerned officials from the Chinese Railways will visit India to firm up the details and modalities of mutual cooperation,'' he said.

Chinese Railways carries the highest level of freight traffic in the world and also a very high level of passenger traffic. It has undertaken considerable network expansion, speed raising, modernisation and technology upgradation during the last 10 years and has a very ambitious programme for the next decade too.

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