As part of the plan, a demonstration run to cover the 6,000-km journey with a full load of goods will be conducted by June this year. The Indian government has invited railway officials of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey for a meeting on March 15 to fine-tune the ambitious project. Indian government sources told Sputnik that most of the countries have expressed their consent for the demonstration run.
“The demonstration run will happen very soon in 2017 and we will sort out all the issues with the countries concerned. This will also demonstrate to the world that there can be a real, commercial trans-Asian container corridor of this magnitude in the rail sector,” Mohammad Jamshed, India’s Railway Board Member told Indian Express.
Though India has planned a counter-strategy to China, which has used railway and road projects as a diplomatic tool to expand its economic outreach, Delhi has failed to implement it due to lack of financial resources.
China has linked rail route to countries like Afghanistan and Bangladesh which is considered Delhi’s closest neighbor. China is aiming $3 trillion natural resources of Afghanistan through rail route which takes only two weeks from the east of China in comparison to three to six months that road transport takes between Pakistan and Afghanistan. India also aimed to make inroads into Afghanistan’s natural resources hub through Chabahar port but the inordinate delay by Iran has left India worried.