Ahmedabad: China on Wednesday said it was “pleased” to see infrastructure cooperation among countries in the region, when asked about today’s launching of work on India’s first high-speed rail or bullet train project by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad.
Beijing also said it “stands ready” to take forward cooperation with India, with China already carrying out feasibility studies for two high-speed rail (HSR) or bullet-train projects in India, between Chennai and New Delhi and from New Delhi to Nagpur.
The launching of work on the 500-km Mumbai-Ahmedabad line, India’s first HSR line set to be completed by 2023, is the highlight of the Japanese PM’s India visit, which kicks off in Gujarat today.
China and Japan are currently the biggest exporters of HSR technology, with Beijing scoring over Tokyo in securing projects in Indonesia and Thailand. While Japan’s famed shinkansen bullet train network long predates China’s, Beijing has since 2008 rapidly gone forward with installing more than 20,000 km of HSR track, which is today the world’s longest bullet train network.
Asked about the India-Japan project, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Wednesday, “China is pleased to see the infrastructure cooperation among regional countries including on high speed railway, and we stand ready to promote cooperation with India and other regional countries to promote regional development.”
“As to railway cooperation, I can tell you it is part of practical cooperation between China and India,” Geng added. “We have reached important consensus in this regard. According to my information, the relevant competent authorities between the two countries have maintained communication on promoting and increasing the speed of the railway in the current projects.”
At last year’s India China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), both sides reached agreement on taking forward HSR project feasibility studies.
The China Railway Siyuan Survey and design Group Company (CRSSDGC) submitted an inception report of feasibility for the Delhi-Nagpur line, and both sides “agreed to have further discussion on providing of data needed for the study” and “will try to reach consensus in short time”.
Both also agreed to “push forward the feasibility study on Delhi-Nagpur high-speed railway and construction of Delhi-Chennai high-speed railway”, a statement said after the SED, adding that the China Southwest Jiaotong University and Training Department of the Ministry of Railways of India have also agreed to hold 8 training courses, with 320 participants in total, in the field of high-speed railway.