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India seeks UAE’s assistance for modernising its rail network

India will invest USD 140 billion to modernise its rail network over the next five years and is in talks with UAE-based sovereign wealth funds, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has said.

“Of the USD 140 billion we will be investing over the next five years, the majority will go towards India’s modernisation efforts, the introduction of new technologies, and increasing capacities,” Prabhu said.

He said his office has been in talks with UAE-based sovereign wealth funds this week, Gulf News quoted him as saying. “We have requested that the government of the UAE look at the huge potential for investment that lies in Indian infrastructure, particularly in the railways.

They are very keen to know more about this,” Prabhu said. “We’ve had good meetings with Mubadala and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA),” Prabhu said, adding that he hoped these issues would progress over the course of 2017.

According to a statement released by the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi, Prabhu visted the UAE from March 5-7, on the invitation of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of the UAE.

The Minister toured Masdar City and met with the senior management of Masdar, where they discussed possible cooperation in efforts by the Indian Railways to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Prabhu said his ministry had an appetite for “several tens of billions of dollars,” stating that whatever was made available, India would take. ADIA is the third largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, holding approximately USD 92 billion in assets.

In January 2017, Prime Minster Narendra Modi had said his government was in “mission mode” when it came to rejuvenating the railways in India. Prabhu confirmed that the government of India has already raised as much as USD 65 billion, to be spent over the next two years.

He stated that India has allocated as much as USD 16 billion for safety measures, and USD 7 billion for energy efficiency. New projects in the pipeline for the country also include a high-speed railway from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, in collaboration with the Japanese government, the conversion of two of India’s busiest routes, Mumbai to Delhi and Mumbai to Calcutta, in to medium-speed corridors, and an increase in the electrification of the country’s tracks “by more in the next five years than the last few decades combined,” Prabhu said.

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