Pakistan's railways ministry has "technically approved" an Indian proposal to launch a South Asian train service linking Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and forwarded it to the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Commerce for further evaluation.
The proposal was floated by the Indian railways two weeks ago, the Dawn newspaper quoted officials as saying.
Experts had acknowledged the potential of the South Asian route and they see it as "more easy to operate", the officials said. The three countries have broad gauge railway tracks and their operating systems are similar as they were established by the erstwhile British rulers of the region.
Officials of the railways ministry said experts had suggested that the Dhaka-Delhi-Lahore train service is "viable in all respects". The service could be extended to Karachi or Islamabad if the need arose, they said.
"The initial trials would be container operations followed by passenger services," said a report prepared by experts. The railways ministry forwarded the report to the Foreign Office for feedback on policy issues.
The Indian proposal came in the backdrop of reports that the Economic Cooperation Organisation planned to launch an Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul train service.
The Indian proposal said the proposed service could be a milestone in developing bilateral trade between Pakistan and other SAARC countries like Nepal and Bhutan, which would be accessible through the service.