China and Japan are once again in competition, this time for the lucrative high speed rail network market in India.
The Japanese are already working on a feasibility study for the Shinkansen network on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai corridor, the results of which will be shared with the Indian side in the run-up to the PM’s visit to Japan this weekend. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to make a strong pitch for India to buy the Shinkansen high speed network. Kyoto, where Modi lands on Saturday, has the best known Shinkansen connection with Tokyo.
Meanwhile, China, which now has the longest high-speed rail network in the world, is keen to sell their trains to India, at a price much lower than the Japanese. The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will arrive for his maiden visit to India in mid-September.
Japan is hardselling better quality and higher safety standards, while China is pitching lower costs.
A new Japanese entity, International High-Speed Rail Association, comprising all the companies that build high speed railways in Japan will try to convince India about its product in October, said officials. Given the projected cost for each train at around Rs 60,000 crore (as announced by railway minister Sadananda Gowda in his railway budget speech) officials said Japan can sweeten the offer with a better financial deal, including FDI.
India is planning to build high speed train networks on other routes such as Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, Mumbai-Goa and Hyderabad-Secunderabad.