China could pump money, share tech to improve Indian Railways: Chinese media
China could help India upgrade its ailing railway infrastructure provided New Delhi is open to Chinese investment in the sector, state-run media said on Tuesday reacting to the deadly train accident in Uttar Pradesh that left 146 people dead.india Updated: Nov 22, 2016 18:13 IST
China could help India upgrade its ailing railway infrastructure provided New Delhi is open to Chinese investment in the sector, state-run media said on Tuesday reacting to the deadly train accident in Uttar Pradesh that left 146 people dead.
Global Times said the accident could have been caused by a fracture in the track and that accidents were common on “India’s dilapidated rail network”.
Trains in India are “the most popular mode of long-distance transport for locals but has long suffered from underinvestment,” the nationalistic tabloid said in the report. It added that China can step in with investment and its advanced technology.
“China is fairly experienced in financing and developing railway technology, which can perhaps be used as a reference for speeding up construction in the south Asian country. Some east African countries, including Tanzania, are reportedly tending to adopt a “Chinese model” for the development of their rail systems, so why not India,” writer Hu Weijia argued.
The article advocated direct infusion of Chinese money into the railway sector in India and that the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) could lead the way.
“Following the Indore-Patna Express derailment, India and China may want to speed up cooperation in infrastructure and China could provide direct support for upgrading India’s railways,” it said.
“India currently holds the second-largest portion of shares and voting rights in the China-led AIIB, allowing the South Asian country to benefit from the bank’s efforts to improve infrastructure in Asia. Additionally, Chinese banks might provide concessionary loans to India if it allowed more Chinese enterprises to invest in its state-run railway network,” the article said.
In fact, New Delhi and Beijing have had several rounds of talks about cooperation in the railway sector but much of the discussions have remained in the drawing board stage.
It was only in August that China’s biggest high-speed train and railway equipment maker announced that its first joint venture in India had been operationalised in Haryana. It was for the first time that China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) – a mammoth state-owned enterprise (SOE) in China with more than 1,75,000 employees – had set up a joint venture in south Asia.
Both countries realise that there is scope for cooperation in sharing and adopting technology.
“There is also potential for China and India to cooperate in railway technology. China’s technology is advanced even compared with some developed countries and the costs are lower, which are appropriate for being adopted in India. A 2014 research report from the World Bank showed that ticket prices for China’s railway were about a quarter of those in other countries,” the Global Times reported.
The Chinese company, of course, had been present in the Indian market since 2007 and supplied subway trains, engines and other equipment, as reported by Hindustan Times in August.
“Given more than 60,000 kilometers of railways in India, it is far from enough to build a single locomotive engine plant in India,” CRRS vice-president, Yu Weiping, had then said.
“CRRC will build more plants able to produce trains, locomotive traction systems and other key parts in India,” he added.