New Delhi–India and France on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening their cooperation in the field of railways and agreed that mutual collaboration and exchange of expertise will benefit both countries.

In a bilateral meeting, Minister of Railway Suresh Prabhu and France’s Minister of State for Transport, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Alain Vidalies decided to share their experiences regularly “in order to address the common challenges”, a release said.

India has over 66,600 km of railways and over 7,000 stations. It is focused on safety, speed up-gradation, renovation and improvement of stations, passenger amenities, freight transport and network de-congestion.

Suresh Prabhu

On the other hand, security and improvement of the facilities is a constant concern in France, which has 30,000 km of railways, more than 2,000 km of High Speed tracks and about 3,000 stations.

According to the release, both sides agreed that mutual collaboration and exchange of expertise will benefit the stakeholders in the two countries.

In the meeting, both sides exchanged views and recalled the long standing technical cooperation between French National Railways and the Indian Railways.

“India and France are committed to developing this cooperation under the aegis of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 between the Ministry of Railways 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,” reads the release.

On semi-speed corridor, both countries had in 2015 decided 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 September 2017, as per the release.

“The relevant partners, including government entities, agencies and companies, scientific and technical research bodies and private companies, will be invited to join the cooperation, when appropriate, and under the umbrella cooperation program of two sides,” the release said.