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Saturday, 01 September 2018 - 9:16
India to build a rail link to Nepal
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India and Nepal have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to conduct a survey for the Raxaul-Kathmandu rail link, the first step in an ambitious rail connectivity project announced in April.
 
The MoU for a preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey of a broad gauge line between the two cities was signed on the margins of the Bimstec Summit in Kathmandu by Indian ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri and the secretary of Nepal’s physical infrastructure and transportation ministry, Madhusudan Adhikari.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli were present at the signing ceremony. This was Modi’s fourth visit to Nepal and his third meeting with Oli.

“Our deliberations were wide-ranging, covering multiple aspects of India-Nepal relations,” Modi said after meeting Oli.
 
The MoU came a week after Nepal and China agreed to prepare a detailed project report for a rail link between Kerung in Tibet and Kathmandu. India has been racing to match China’s plans to improve road and rail connectivity with Nepal.

The Indian link is scheduled to be completed in five years, while the Chinese line is expected to take up to nine years.
 
Konkan Railway Corporation will conduct the survey for the electrified railway line in consultation with the Nepal government, the Indian embassy said in a statement.

The Raxaul-Kathmandu line is expected to expand connectivity by enhancing people-to-people links between the two sides and promoting economic growth and development, it added.
 
During Oli’s visit to India in April, India and Nepal had issued a joint statement on expanding rail links, including a line connecting Raxaul to Kathmandu.
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