Spurred by China's rapid infrastructure thrust along India's borders, the Indian Railways has pitched in for rail and road projects in South Asian countries including Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal.
In the process of executing $800 million worth rail track projects in Sri Lanka, the Indian Railways Construction Company (IRCON) - a PSU of the Indian Railways -is staking claims over other big ticket projects including restructuring of air fields at Jaffna and Trincomalee, ministry sources said.
In the aftermath of the decade-long insurgency that ravaged the northern part of the island country, India has cornered the rail reconstruction contracts under a loan agreement encapsulating an Indian line of credit, while China has been working on the road rebuilding contracts.
News reports indicate China's plans to extend its Tibet railway network into the strategically important Chumbi valley area, next to Sikkim and the Siliguri corridor.
China has also been building a railway line connecting Kunming in China to Singapore. Bracing up for the competition, India has offered to design, supervise and construct roads in Myanmar.
This fiscal, IRCON has been awarded two important rail contracts with Nepal: The Rs 238-crore project for constructing a rail track from Jogbani in Bihar to Biratnagar in Nepal and the Rs 446.72-crore project for gauge conversion from Jayanagar in India to Bijalpura in Nepal, with extension up to Bardibas on India-Nepal border.
Indo-Nepal train connectivity projects worth more than Rs 700 crore have remained at the drawing board stages.
These include the 12-km link between Nepalganj Road in India to Nepalganj and the 15 km-track planned to connect Nautanwa in India to Bhairwaha in Nepal.
In respect of both these proposals, the Railways have completed the detailed survey and submitted the final report to the ministry of external affairs.