Another Transport Linkup between India and East Asia
AprIL 21, 2007 (LPAC)--India is exploring a possible transit route through Bangladesh to boost its trade with China and the ASEAN countries, the Press Trust of India reports today. "Such a possibility will... reduce the rail distance to just 350 kilometers (220 mi) between India and Bangladesh, sharply bringing down the freight cost," sources at the Railway Ministry said. There are already five rail route linkages between India and Bangladesh, but this would be a new one. While Chinese Railways are expanding beyond Tibet and towards the Russian side, India is planning establishment of a rail-based cargo transit route between Kolkata and Agartala through Bangladesh. Though there are no direct rail links between Kolkata and Agartala at this moment, the Indians said that a rail link will be created between Kumarghat and Agartala by December 2007.
Indian Railways, already connected with Pakistan, is visualizing a connection to Iran, Turkey and Central Asian railways, thus bringing back the old memory of Trans-Caucasian railways in Central Asia. India has offered a $150 million credit-line to Bangladesh for its railway development.