Railways Current Affairs

India, Switzerland ink two MoUs in the field of Railways

India and Switzerland have signed two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) for exchanging technical cooperation in the field of Railways.

They were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard in New Delhi. They also issued Joint press statement.

Signed Pacts

  • MoU between Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich.
  • MoU between Ministry of Railways and Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications of the Swiss Federation on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector.

Key Takeaways of Joint press statement

FDI is a big part of the Indo-Swiss cooperation. Both countries agreed to enhance the business to business cooperation. Both countries are working on new bilateral investment treaty. India thanked Switzerland for supporting for its bid for MTCR and Nuclear Suppliers Group membership.

Switzerland agreed that reforms taken by India will serve good base for expanding cooperation in several areas. Switzerland has accepted automatic exchange of information for transparency in financial transactions with India to effectively combat black money and tax evasion and its parliament is going to pass legislation supporting it by year end. India committed to clean energy and green future and termed climate change as a global challenge.

India-Switzerland

India and Switzerland have long standing relationship and enjoy robust economic ties. Switzerland is being seventh largest trading partner and eleventh largest foreign investor for India. Both countries share common views on many major global issues.

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Government sanctions Rs.580 crore for Agartala-Akhaura rail link Project

Union Government has sanctioned about 580 crore rupees for Agartala-Akhaura railway link Project to connect Kolkata (West Bengal) with Tripura via Bangladesh.

The sanctioned fund will be used for the laying of the five km railway track up to Bangladesh border from Agartala. It is

Agartala-Akhaura Railway Link Project

  • It is 15 km long strategic railway route that would connect the Indian Railways with the Bangladesh Railways. The work on this project is expected to complete by 2017.
  • Of the 15 km strategic railway track, 10 km falls in the Bangladesh side and the rest 5 km falls in India.
  • It was initiated after Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in January 2010 when both countries had agreed to lay the railway track.

Comment

This project will play important role in India’s ‘Act East’ Policy and is expected to improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries. It will also reduce the current 1700 km road distance between Kolkata to Agartala via narrow Chicken Neck Siliguri corridor to just 350 km by railway.

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