China has started work on examining if it can modernize two railways stations in India – Baiyyappanahalli in Bangalore and Bhubaneswar in Orissa – under an agreement signed in September, the ministry of railways said.
In September, China and India signed an agreement facilitating Chinese help in increasing the speed on India’s railway network, modernizing railway stations and enhancing mutual cooperation in the sector.
The feasibility study will be done by the Chinese at their cost at the two cities.
“The development is envisaged at no cost to Railways by leveraging land and air space in and around the stations. Train operations would remain with the Railways and only identified services would be provided and managed by private agencies,” ministry of railways said.
The stations are planned to be equipped with modern facilities and amenities, these would cater to all classes of passengers, it added.
India and China have never had such agreement, and the announcement came as quite a surprise, especially since it was signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping.
China has always been portrayed as a grave security threat for India by sections of the political and intelligence establishment.
Chinese telecom companies have faced difficulty in carrying out their business in India after allegations surfaced that they supplied equipment with ‘secret trap doors’ that could potentially help China ‘take over’ communication networks in India in the event of a war.
However, the Chinese are also far ahead of India in terms of railway technology. Not only the does the country have one of the world’s fastest railway services, it is also home to one of the most successful magnetic levitation trains in the world.