India, Austria deal on transport gets cabinet nod

The agreement aims to create an effective framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of road transportation, roads and highways infrastructure development, management and administration as well as road safety and intelligent transport systems between both countries

March 7, 2019

The partnership will strengthen ties, promote long standing bilateral relations and enhance trade and regional integration between India and Austria

India has put special focus on infrastructure, especially on connectivity projects such as Bharatmala Pariyojana, as a vehicle for economic growth

India hopes to gain from Austria’s state of the art technologies for roads and highways, including electronic toll systems traffic management systems

The Indo-Austrian bilateral cooperation in the roadways would be beneficial for both enhanced road safety as well as attractive financing possibilities

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on March 7 approved a preliminary deal between India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Austria’s Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology on technology cooperation in the road infrastructure sector. The agreement aims to create an effective framework for bilateral tie-up in the field of road transportation, roads and highways infrastructure development, management and administration as well as road safety and intelligent transport systems between both countries. The partnership will strengthen ties, promote long standing bilateral relations and enhance trade and regional integration between India and Austria.

India has put special focus on infrastructure, especially connectivity projects, as a vehicle for economic growth. Herein, a leading project has been the Bharatmala Pariyojana that aims to build over 84,000 km of new highways across India by 2022 at investment of more than US$110 bn. In 2017-18, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had cleared 150 road projects covering 7,400 km and worth US$18.5 billion – a record high. The new road projects have especially sought to connect the rural regions and the country’s northeast region – a move that promises to open up untapped economic opportunities. Given the promises, private and foreign enterprises have also participated in setting up road projects in India.

The Indo-Austrian bilateral cooperation in the road transport sector would be beneficial both from the perspective of enhanced road safety as well as attractive financing possibilities for the sector. Through the deal, India hopes to gain from Austria that has developed state of the art technologies for roads and highways, including electronic toll systems, intelligent transportation ecosystem, traffic management systems, tunnel monitoring systems, geo-mapping and landslide protection measures. To develop such road modernising projects, Government of India has already signed multiple financing deals with the likes of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the New Development Bank, among others.