- China has laid out 20,000 km of high-speed rail lines in less than decade
- China is also making a strong pitch to sell bullet trains to India
- India is an important potential market for Chinese train makers
Quanzhou, located south-east of the Fujian province, is right opposite Taiwan and is a 'National Pilot City' which is part of integrated reform agenda of the Chinese leadership under the 'Made In China 2025' model city project. The program has several similarities to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make In India' drive and reform initiative particularly in the railways where India is pushing hard for fast reform.
Chinese People Institute of Foreign Affairs Vice President Peng Keyu said "We can give India high-speed bullet trains at a much lower rate than Japan even though Japan is considered the best in technology when it comes to these trains."
On Monday, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off two trains and laid the foundation of a railway facility in different parts of the country through video conferencing. The two new trains from Maharashtra and Visakhapatnam will have features such as glass roof, LED lights, revolving seats, GPS based information system, he said.
It is also a reluctant shopper from China although an affiliated company of China's top train-maker CRCC Corporation has acquired a subway train order in Nagpur. It will produce a total of 69 coaches. The agreement signed on March 27 also includes a 10-year maintenance contract. China is also making some coaches for subways in Kolkata. India is an important potential market for Chinese train makers.
However, not the entire picture is as rosy. China Railway Corporation, the state-owned operator of the train system has debts of more than 4 trillion yuan or 580 billion dollars. Also, the operating cost of these trains in smaller distances is high. But as we move along the rail line from one city to another, there is simultaneous growth of industry and housing and infrastructure along the high speed trains that may justify the costs.