The Indian Railways is taking forward an initiative for constructing an 81,000-kilometre-long Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) network between Asia and Europe.
A high level delegation of the Indian Railways led by Railway Board Chairman K.C. Jena is leaving for Tehran on a three-day visit beginning April 12 in this connection. The team will hold discussions with Iranian counterparts on port connectivity between northern Iran and Russia (as envisaged in the TAR proposal).
Officials indicated that Iran is also keen to seek the Indian Railways' assistance in its port connectivity plan. It might accept the Iranian offer after examining the financial viability of the proposed projects. The two sides are also likely to work on the draft of a possible agreement for modernising Iran's expanding 6,000-km-long rail network.
Both India and Iran are members of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific sponsored project that aims to link the Pacific seaboard of Asia with Europe. The project aims to build a rail network linking countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The Indian delegation will explore possibilities of offering expertise in upgrading Iran's train operations, signaling system and electric works, besides offering training of personnel.
At the request of the Iran government, the Indian delegation is expected to work on a draft MoU. Comprising Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) Managing Director V.K. Agarwal and General Manager A.K.M. Sharma, the Indian delegation will inspect the Iranian railway system and Esfahan and hold discussions with senior railway officials, including Hassan Ziari, Deputy Minister for Roads and Transportation and President of the Islamic Republic of Iranian Railway. RITES has already done a feasibility study for the Iranian Railway.
Indian Railways has signed MoUs with Italy, Germany, Russia, South Africa and China.