India-France Railways Cooperation

IAS Prelims 2023

Recently, minister for Railways Mr Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, held meeting with Minister of State for Transport, Marine Affairs and Fisheries of France, Mr Alain Vidalies.

Both sides  exchanged views,  recalled the long standing technical cooperation between French National Railways and the Indian Railways (IR) and   reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening their cooperation in the field of Railways.

India and France are committed to develop this cooperation under the aegis of the Memorandum of understanding signed in 2013 between the Ministry of Railways of the Republic of India and the French National Railways (SNCF). This   Bilateral Meeting is intended to build upon and deepen the mutual cooperation already existing between the  two countries.

India has over  66600 km of railways and over  7000 stations. It focuses its action in particular on  priorities :  safety  speed upgradation, renovation and improvement of stations,  passenger amenities,  freight transport and network decongestion.

France has 30 000 km of railways, more than 2000 km of High Speed tracks and about 3000 stations. The High Speed network is still expanding. A global reflection on the place and purpose of stations in the city has been carried out recently and led to major renovation works in France. The security and improvement of the facilities is of course a constant concern in France.

In this context, both leaders desired for regular sharing of  experience  in order to address the common challenges.  Both sides agreed that  mutual collaboration and exchange of expertise will benefit the stakeholders in the two countries.

This collaboration between the two countries will in particular focus on the following:

-High speed and semi-high speed rail ;

-Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure ;

-Station renovation and operations ;

-Suburban trains ;

-Safety systems, operations and Security.

On Semi High Speed, the  two sides have decided in 2015 to carry out a technical and execution study for upgrading the speed of passengers trains on the current rail corridor between Delhi and Chandigarh (244 km) up to 200 kmph. The study is likely to be completed by Sep’2017.