The Indian government plans to build a railway line connecting the country with Bhutan . They allocated funds of 120 billion rupees or around Rp. 22.2 trillion for the ambitious expansion of railway infrastructure in the northeastern region of the country. This marks an important step towards the realization of thelong-awaited Bhutan-India railway link .
This project will create a 57.5 kilometer railway line that will connect Kokrajhar in Assam, India , to Gelephu in Sarpang, Bhutan. Targeted for completion in 2026, this train line is expected to reshape regional connectivity and economic prospects.
Last month, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar gave a glimpse into the ongoing negotiations between India and Bhutan regarding the railway line. He added that Bhutan wants to open more tourism routes, and these efforts promise significant benefits for Assam.
According to Bhutan Live, the beginning of the project dates back to 2008, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Bhutan during the construction of the Nehru Golden Jubilee Railway line. Plans for the India-Bhutan railway line were discussed again when the Prime Minister of Bhutan visited India in 2018. Initially, the 18 km railway line was between Toribari in Phuentsholing, Bhutan and Hashimara in West Bengal.
The proposed railway line between Gelephu and Kokrajhar, located on the Assam border, could boost trade and tourism, he said. As construction of the Gelephu-Kokrajhar railway line begins, this is expected to act as a catalyst for additional development. railway initiatives in the southern and eastern regions of the two countries, which will cover areas such as Phuentsholing, Samtse, Nganglam and Samdrup Jongkhar which will improve regional connectivity and integration.
Bhutan and India have been committed to this shared vision since 2005 when they signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This commitment strengthens their shared aspirations to create an extensive rail network connecting cities along their borders.
Bhutan borders India for 605 kilometers, Bhutan is also the country’s largest trading partner.
Once completed, the rail route from India to Bhutan will make it easier for travelers from both countries to cross the border.
Source : Tempo.co