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India’s IRCON begins upgrading Sri Lanka railway networks


India’s IRCON begins upgrading Sri Lanka railway networks

IRCON Sri Lanka railways
India’s Indian Railway Construction International (IRCON) begins a new project upgrading the Sri Lanka railway network to Jaffna. Photo: Hafiz Issadeen

India’s state-owned railway company Indian Railway Construction International (IRCON) will today start a $90 million program to upgrade the railway track in Jaffna—a city in northern Sri Lanka.

The project will re-construct advanced train tracks which will enable trains to travel at a higher maximum speed of 100 kilometer per hour, considerably lowering the run time. After the project is completed, the line is expected to be in full service in approximately five months.

While Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history, mainly caused by corruption and political mismanagement, IRCON’s upgrade program will likely help advance economic recovery. This is largely due to the increase in the commercial transportation of goods moving forward. For India, this initiative will reinforce Indian-Sri Lankan relations to further solidify its alliance with Colombo in the short-to medium term. This is all in accordance with the Modi administration’s Neighborhood First Policy, which aims to build strong ties with India’s neighbors in South Asia. India’s role as the primary benefactor in this project will also help further increase its political influence in the Indo-Pacific, and serve as a check towards China’s growing involvement in the region.

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