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News number: 8806221075

16:11 | 2009-09-13


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India Keen to Join ECO Train Project

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Indian government voiced enthusiasm for joining the Economic Cooperation Organization's Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul rail link dubbed as 'ECO Train' in an effort to better access the rich markets of the Middle East and Europe.

Sources said that Pakistan's railway company has received a request from New Delhi in which the Indian side has expressed eagerness to use the country's railway which links the Middle East and the Europe via Iran and Turkey.

The request has been sent to the Pakistani foreign ministry for further studies.

"Pakistan as also received a similar request from Bangladesh and both countries want to use Pakistan's railway services to carry cargo to the Middle East and Europe," Pakistani Railway Minister Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour told the country's channel 4 TV.

The first Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) freight started its operation from Islamabad on 14 August, Pakistan's National Day.

The 6,500-kilometer railroad is among ECO's major projects. 1,900 km out of the 6,506 km-long railway passes through Pakistan, 2,570 km through Iran and the remaining 2,036 km passes through Turkey.

The concept of such a train was proposed at the 18th Regional Planning Council of the ECO held in March 2008 in Islamabad.

The regular service of the train is expected to begin next year.

The ultimate aim of the project is to start a regular passenger train service between ECO member states and provide a link to Europe and Central Asia.

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are member states of the ECO.