Indian Railways, Chinese technology to strengthen India-China ties
Premier Li Keqiang has said "integrating" China's technology in India's railway and energy sectors would be a "breakthrough" in India-China cooperation, as both countries finalized plans to modernize Indian Railways with Chinese technical assistance.
"We have to integrate our technologies of high-speed railways and energy equipment with the Indian market as a breakthrough in China-India cooperation," Li said during a meeting with deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
Ahluwalia, who headed the Indian delegation at the third round of Strategic Economic Dialogue held here this week, called on Li yesterday during which he apprised him of progress made in specific proposals relating Chinese cooperation to modernize Indian railways, including heavy haul of freight, improving existing rail lines to drastically increase the speed of trains.
Indian officials say India is seeking Chinese assistance for track improvement to increase the speed of trains up to 180 kmph, which they say is a cheaper option compared to high speed trains, as they require exclusive tracks covered on both sides entailing issues like land acquisition as well as big expenditure amounting to Rs. 120 crore a kilometre.
The Indian delegation included Railway Board chairman Arunanendra Kumar and his team of high powered officials.
For high speed track development, India has proposed Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Khanpur and Delhi-Chandigarh sectors as pilot projects to China. The move was expected to gather steam after the general elections in India.
Ahluwalia is confident that whatever the composition of the new government in New Delhi they would back the projects as they are most feasible at present.
Indian railway construction is expected to showcase China-India cooperation, state-run China Daily quoted officials as saying after Ahluwalia's meeting with Li.
At the SED, the two sides signed memorandums and pacts on sustainable urbanisation, IT and the energy sector.
The construction and upgrading of the Indian-Chinese railway topped the agenda of the SED meeting, which was presided over by Ahluwalia and Xu Shaoshi, chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission.
Ahluwalia also held talks with top officials of the state owned China Development Bank, which finances infrastructure projects all over the world.
(With agency inputs)