India’s president Pranag Mukherjee is expected to inaugurate a new railway line between the southern state of Kerala and Karnataka during his visit to India, as the country celebrates the centenary of independence from Britain.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected on the inaugural train to inaugurate the new railway link on Sunday, as he looks to expand the country’s connectivity and economic ties.
India’s new president will take part in a three-day visit to the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, in what is expected in a state of high anticipation as he seeks to deepen economic ties with the three states.
The first trains will be operated from Kerala’s railway station at Malabar in Kerala’s northern coastal region, and the other two from the southern city of Coimbatore, the state’s capital.
A train between the two southern states is expected between late June and mid-July.
India is a major railway market and is expected the president will use the occasion to promote investment, tourism and development.
Ahead of the president’s trip, the government has also put in place a “blueprint for the economic development of the region”, which is meant to help the region diversify and become a hub for goods, services and the digital economy.
India, which had a population of about 12.6 million people when independence was declared on July 1, 1960, has had a rapid growth rate in recent years and now has more than 80 million people, of whom almost 40 million live in the southern region of Andhra.