India woos US transportation infrastructure investors

Washington, Jan 16 (IANS) India and the US have agreed to work on a road show of potential long-term investors having interest in India’s infrastructure sector as also promote cooperation in railway safety and capacity building.

Visiting Indian Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu and US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx discussed enhanced bilateral engagement in the transportation sector under the Memorandum of Cooperation signed during Foxx’s visit to India last April.

At the end of a three-day visit on Friday, he noted the immense possibilities for knowledge sharing, technology tie-ups and business cooperation between the two countries in the transportation sector.

In his meeting with the Chairman and President of the US EXIM Bank Fred P. Hochberg, Prabhu discussed the possibility of structuring an India specific financing model to take advantage of upcoming investment and business opportunities in India’s rail sector.

Both sides agreed to work on a road show of potential long-term investors having interest in India’s infrastructure sector, according to a media release.

Prabhu also met with President and Chief Executive Officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Elizabeth L. Littlefield to explore the possibility of OPIC’s financing for the Indian Railways.

Speaking at the World Bank Conference on Transforming Transportation, Prabhu highlighted the vital role of the Indian railways in providing low cost sustainable transportation.

The Indian Railways, he said, has embarked on transforming its energy mix by using renewal energy sources like solar and wind energy, and is undertaking energy audits to improve efficiency to meet its sustainability targets.

In his meetings with the World Bank and IFC officials, Prabhu discussed the Indian Railways’ efforts to expand, modernise, decentralise decision making, improve efficiency and meet customer expectations.

He made a presentation on the railway sector to the senior leadership of the World Bank Group separately on the new initiatives of his ministry and how the World Bank could partner with the Indian railways.

Both the World Bank and IFC are working closely with Indian Railways to help it achieve its formidable targets.

During a roundtable organised by the US India Business Council Prabhu highlighted the Indian Railways’ plans to invest $142 billion in the coming five years and hope to double this investment figure in the next five-year cycle.

Prabhu also discussed with the senior leadership of the World Resource Institute (WRI) the Indian Railways drive to transform its energy mix by promoting the use of clean energy and various initiatives to make railways an eco-friendly organization.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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