On the Move (2018 | Issue 1)

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Indo-German Collaborations & Ties

India and Germany share a long and strong partnership, and both have taken it to a whole new level. Further  strengthening and expanding Indo-German cooperation, they have chosen sustainable urban development as a priority area. It’s great to have a technological powerhouse like Germany assist India in implementing green urban mobility solutions. After all, it has a lot of expertise in environment-friendly urban planning. Germany’s main objective is to work together with the Indian government to facilitate inclusive growth, reduce poverty and protect the environment. What’s Up, Germany? highlights several Indo-German transport projects and their impact.

In May 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that sustainable urban development would be a major focus of bilateral cooperation between India and Germany. To this end, between 2017 and 2022, Germany will provide financial and technical assistance worth €1.6 billion towards sustainable development in India, especially in the transport sector.

Smart Cities Mission - Modernising water transport in Kochi

Kochi Waterways

Germany has been supporting India’s “Smart Cities Mission” in Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore since 2016. It is already working towards modernising water transport in Kochi, which will subsequently be integrated with electric buses, pedestrian paths and bicycle tracks. The plan is to introduce 76 energy-efficient ferries that will carry 100,000 passengers daily and provide last-mile connectivity to the Kochi Metro. The German Development Bank KfW is giving financial assistance of €85 million for this project.


In 2017, additional funding of €5 million was approved for the project SMART-SUT (Integrated and Sustainable Urban Transport Systems for Smart Cities) with a view to improve planning and implementation of integrated sustainable transport systems in Kochi, Coimbatore and Bhubaneswar. This project supports solutions for seamless mobility, including public transport, last-mile connectivity and non-motorised transport, and strengthens agencies providing mobility services. The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) will implement SMART-SUT together.

Nagpur Metro

In 2016, KfW signed a loan agreement for €500 million in the presence of Ambassador Dr Martin Ney to co-finance the building of a modern and sustainable metro system in Nagpur. The Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MAHA-METRO) has already conducted trial runs, and the southern and western links of the metro should be operational by December 2018 and March 2019 respectively. That should help bring down the number of cars on the streets!


October 2015 saw the railway sector being added to the vast array of Indo-German cooperation. The focus areas are modernisation, improved safety and speed enhancement. Let’s take a look at some ongoing projects:

Time for Bullet Trains!

Known for its expertise in high-speed railways, Germany is checking the feasibility of running bullet trains on the 450km-long Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru corridor. A consortium of German consultants will soon finish the feasibility study.

Getting Connected

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn and the Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd (IPRCL) are planning to develop rail connectivity for Indian ports. They have already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). This will bring the latest railway technology to India. The Deutsche Bahn is already providing consultancy services for the first phase of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor between New Delhi and Kolkata.

Semi-High Speed Rail

India and Germany will work together to increase the speed of passenger trains to 200 km/h. In 2017, Ambassador Dr Martin Ney and Naveen Kumar Shukla, the Ministry of Railways’ advisor on mobility, signed a joint declaration of intent for carrying out a feasibility study on the 643-km Chennai-Kazipet corridor on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis. The project will be carried out in three phases over a 22-month period. Ambassador Dr Ney underlined that “Germany is a reliable partner to support India in modernising its railways with state-of-the-art railway technology and high safety standards.”

Ambassador Dr Martin Ney and Naveen Kumar Shukla, the Ministry of Railways’

(from left to right): Naveen Kumar Shukla, advisor on mobility, Ministry of Railways; Ashwani Lohani, chairman, Railway Board; German Ambassador Dr Martin Ney

Safer Coaches

The Indian Railways plans to completely do away with the conventional ICF (Integral Coach Factory) coaches by switching to German technology-based LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches as of April 2018. LHB coaches are much safer, since they have in-built anti-collision devices which cause less fatalities. Made of stainless steel and aluminium, these coaches are already being used in some Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.

Siemens signalling system, New Delhi Railway Station

(from left to right): Naveen Kumar Shukla, advisor on mobility, Ministry of Railways; Ashwani Lohani, chairman, Railway Board; German Ambassador Dr Martin Ney

Siemens signalling system, New Delhi Railway Station

Metro Link Express

The German company Siemens is ensuring safety in major train stations across India through its signalling systems, and has recently bagged a ₹579-crore electrification project of Gujarat’s Metro Link Express. Siemens has already begun electrification work of the 39.2-km line in Ahmedabad. The metro will eventually connect all four corners of the city through 32 stations across two corridors. The mass rapid transit system (MRTS) has proven to be an efficient mode of transport when it comes to saving energy.

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.”
— Gustavo Petro, Colombian politician & economist