India might get a high-speed underwater train between Dubai to Mumbai. This will be the first underwater train project in the Indian subcontinent as well as in the United Arab Emirates. “UAE is looking to developing underwater rail network between Fujairah, UAE, and Mumbai, India. In near future, the resident of both nations might travel via undersea rail link,” reported Khaleej Times, a Dubai based English daily. Facilitation of goods transport and oil export through the pipeline are also under consideration. “This is a concept. We plan to connect Indian city of Mumbai with Fujairah through ultra-speed floating trains. The project aims to boost bilateral trade. There will be an export of oil to India from Fujairah port and import of excess water from Narmada River in the north of Mumbai. In addition, other GCC partners can also improve export and import,” said Alshehhi, founder of National Advisor Bureau Limited (NABL). NABL is a highly successful Masdar City-based consultancy firm which has been breeding ground for startups in last the few years.
The distance between two global cities is less than 2,000 km and could be connected through a high-speed train project. Earlier, China had proposed to build underwater high-speed train route to connect Ningbo, Shanghai to Zhousan. Therefore, a rail network could also be proposed between UAE and India after the feasibility study. Indian trade volume with Gulf countries is very high and the country is among the largest trading partners of UAE. In 2018, PM Modi set an ambitious target to boost trade between both countries to 100 billion dollars by 2020 and also signed an agreement to trade in local currencies. It would reduce foreign exchange pressures by eliminating the involvement of the US dollar. It will also give a significant boost to trade.
More than 6.5 million Indians living across the West Asian nations make India a close observer of the Gulf politics and its implications. Indians are the largest ethnic group in UAE with more than 27 percent of the population. Easy transport to UAE and other Gulf countries will not only help India in the export of labor to these countries but also in oil import. The Indian labour in gulf countries is among most the important resources of foreign exchange in the country. India receives a total of more than 60 billion dollars of remittance from Indians living abroad and this helps the country to finance imports and strengthen its ‘Balance of Payments’ position.
India imports the substantial amount of its petrol consumption. A significant chunk of oil import comes from UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf countries. An oil pipeline like that being built from Iran to India via Pakistan will help the country in the import of cheap oil. The transportation cost will go down significantly if the pipeline is built. India also exports raw material like spices, cotton, polished gems, and machinery to Gulf countries. The goods export will increase exponentially if cheap transportation will be available because it will make Indian goods more competitive in Gulf markets. The underwater high-speed train between Mumbai and Dubai can open the door for a new era in Indo-UAE ties as well as Indo-Gulf ties.