India set to garner benefits of pocket-friendly Korean rail tech


New Delhi, Korea has a very efficient high speed railway system and these are available at good prices, officials have said here suggesting that post Narendra Modi-President Moon Jae-in talks, now the push is to get into something tangible. It is in this context, they say, the agreement inked on Tuesday between the Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) of India and Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) will go a long way in boosting the cooperation and also helping India improve its railway infrastructures. “RDSO officials visited Korea at the behest of the Railway Minister who visited Korea in 2015; and the idea was to explore the Korean model of high speed railways and also a variety of railway technologies where Korea has strengths,” Indian ambassador to South Korea Vikram Doraiswami said here on Tuesday after the delegation level talks between two sides. Prime Minister Modi and Korean President Moon Jae-in participated at the talks that pledged to enhance bilateral trade to $50 billion a year by 2030, up from $20 billion now. Koreans are keen to get into the high speed railway market in India. According to Indian envoy, the Korean railway system has strengths in technologies including in the railway centre of gravity – where a train would be able to take turn on a curve without derailing.They also have increased safety standards and increased various signalling equipment, rolling stocks, etc. A relative latecomer in Asia for the high-speed railway market, South Korea is now ranked fourth in the world in terms of technologies, after France, Germany and Japan. In fact, on rolling stocks, officials say Korea already has presence in India as most of the metro lines in Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad are enlisting services of Hyundai Rotem. The RDSO is already working in coordination with Japan and under a pact worked out in 2015, the Japan Railway Technical Research Institute is to cooperate in the areas of safety in train operation; advanced techniques of maintenance and use of environment friendly technologies in India. On the overall investment from Korea, the Indian envoy said, $ 3.5 billion have come in couple of years, adding: –“what is (more) interesting to note is at the scale in which that has come”. The automobile manufacturing South Korean major, KIA Motors, is coming up with an unit and a township at Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh wherein 3 lakh cars will be made each year starting from 2019. “What it essentially means is that by the time its full capacity is installed, India will be the fourth largest market for production for the motor group,” he said. Among other companies, Samsung, which launched its new unit in Noida on Monday, will bring out at least 10 million smart phones every month from Indian hub. “At present largest numbers of Samsung smart phones come from Vietnam – which is 1 million mobiles a week.....On broad scale, we are actually looking at the significant expansion of production capacity in automobiles, electronics and also new sectors that includes textiles, food processing and chemicals,” Mr Doraiswami said. India and Korea also exchanged a Joint Statement on Tuesday on the Early Harvest Package of the Upgraded Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). This pact essentially has three chapters - Goods, Services and Investment. "We want to see progress in all three," said Indian envoy. He further pointed that under this 11 main commodity goods would be covered – opening new avenues and opportunities for India "to step up exports" in areas which are of particular interests for India. "On this, there will be boost in exports of Agri commodities and also of marine products. We have significant market in the rest of the world but not yet in Korea," ambassador Mr Doraiswami commented.