New Delhi: India and the UK on Monday signed an agreement to cooperate in road sector under which Britain will lend its expertise in vehicle testing, driver training and maintenance of highways, among other thing.
The Minister for Road Transport and Highways Kamal Nath signed the Memorandun of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of India while the Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond signed on UK`s behalf.
After the signing ceremony, Kamal Nath told newsmen at the Lancaster House that "the signing of the MOU is part of enhanced and better partnership" envisaged by British Prime Minister David Cameron during his recent India visit.
"We are able to take forward UK Prime Minister`s successful visit to India; it is continuation of Cameron`s visit. This is even more and a better partnership in infrastructure and roads," Nath said.
He admitted that India`s road safety record was not good and hoped that the British expertise in road building and road management would help India build world-class roads and also maintain them.
"In the UK, Indian companies are building world class cars. This (MOU) will help to build world-class roads in India. This will be a catalyst for building top class roads,"
He claimed that at the end of the first year of the present Government, contracts to build 7,500 kms had been awarded. He maintained that in the second year, 9,000 to 10,000
kms of road building work will be awarded. "We are heading towards the 20,000 km mark."
He said discussion in China was mainly in respect of Chinese companies entering the construction and financing of highways in India. Eight Chinese companies have shown
The MOU also provides for technical visits and delegations in relation to motor vehicle testing, driving training and delivering and maintenance of highway networks, visits to share experience of operation and professional training and exchanges to share experience of the work of the agencies of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the Department for Transport.
Philip Hammond said the MOU would help the process of strengthening collaborations between the UK and India. "This also shows our strong and clear intention to build
stronger and deeper ties with India and work together in all areas. We have also discussed how to support each other to face challenges in the 21st century in fields like climate change," he said.