* NSE index up 0.37 pct, BSE index 0.41 pct higher
* Reliance Industries top contributor to gains
* Indexes on track to post 5th straight session of gains
By Samantha Kareen Nair
Feb 22 (Reuters) - Indian shares rose on Wednesday as Reliance Industries climbed to a near 8-year high after investors welcomed plans by its telecom unit to start charging customers for services.
The index also tracked Asian equities that rose 0.6 percent, joining a record-setting session for global markets as investors cheered upbeat factory activity in Europe and solid earnings on Wall Street.
Investors were however expected to remain cautious ahead of the release of minutes from a policy meeting by the Reserve Bank of India earlier this month when it held interest rates steady, unexpectedly shifting its policy stance to “neutral” from “accommodative.”
“We can expect to see some caution ahead of the release of RBI’s policy meet minutes later today,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of research at Centrum Wealth. “However, the overall sentiment in the market remains positive and we can expect to see the indexes touching new highs soon.”
The NSE index rose as much as 0.43 percent to 8,946.55, its highest since Sept. 8. The index was on track to post its fifth straight session of gains in seven.
The benchmark BSE index rose as much as 0.49 percent to 28,901.19, also on track to post its fifth straight session of gains.
Energy conglomerate Reliance Industries rose as much as 7.7 percent to its highest since June 15, 2009, and was up 7.03 percent as of 0531 GMT.
The stock was the top contributor to gains on the NSE index.
The stock jumped after owner Mukesh Ambani said on Tuesday telecom unit Reliance Jio Infocomm would end seven months of free services and start charging customers, albeit at discounted rates.
Castrol India fell as the company warned of volatility in the first half of 2017, although it reported a 10.7 percent rise in Dec-quarter profit on Tuesday.
Shares of Bharat Electronics Ltd lost ground after the government said it would sell a 5 percent stake in the company. (Reporting by Samantha Kareen Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)