New Delhi: Even as the gas pipeline project with Iran hangs in balance, India is likely to help the country in modernisation and expansion of its rail network.
Iran, facing UN sanctions, has sought India’s expertise in upgrading its train operations, signalling system and electrical work besides training its personnel as part of its plans to modernise the railway system.
Responding to a request from the Iran government, Railway Board Chairman K.C. Jena along with two senior officers will travel to Tehran Friday to hold discussions with the Iranian railway officials.
“Indian Railway is likely to extend its expertise to Iran for modernising Iranian railway network,” said a senior railway ministry official.
The Indian team would inspect the Iranian railway system and meet senior railway officials, including Hassan Ziari, Deputy Minister for Roads and transportation and President of Islamic Republic of Iranian Railway, during its three-day visit from 12 April.
The high-level delegation headed by Jena is also slated to visit the railway system at Esfahan in Iran.
“Iran wants to expand its rail network with Indian Railway’s help. RITES has already done a few feasibility studies for Iranian Railway,” said the official.
Though Indian Railway has signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with many overseas railways there is no such agreement with Iranian Railway.
“An MoU with Iranian Railway may be signed at a later stage but at the moment there is no such proposal,” said the official.
“Iran is also keen to seek Indian Railway’s assistance in its port connectivity plan,“ the official said, adding it will accept the offer after examining the financial viability of the proposed projects in Iran.
Iran has about 6,000 km long rail route.
Beside Jena, other members of the team are RITES managing director V.K. Agarwal and general manager A.K.M. Sharma.
The growth in economy and business prospects of Indian Railway is fast attracting the attention of foreign railways for investments and new technologies.