Oct 13, 2016

India and China to cooperate on Delhi-Nagpur Highspeed rail

India and China have signed two inter-governmental
documents and 18 other documents for cooperation covering a host of issues, including a feasibility study on Delhi-Nagpur high speed railway, construction of Delhi-Chennai high-speed railway and establishment of China-India Technology Park in Hainan Province.

Besides, New Delhi is studying China’s coastal manufacturing zones, a move that can help India develop its 7,500-km of coastline and help the country further strengthen its export potential, particularly in labour-intensive industries such as textiles, leather, light and electronic manufacturing.

The agreements were signed by the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Xu Shaoshi, and the vice-chairman of its Indian counterpart National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, Arvind Panagariya, last week.

The agreements were signed as part of India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, which started in 2010.

“We want to study China’s experience with the coastal economic zones and port-led development in China, where the cities were granted special status to open coastal cities. They enjoy special policies. Aayog wants to analyse them,” Panagariya told reporters here.

Officials said both the sides agreed that during the course of the next one year, NITI Aayog will foster closer cooperation between Indian states and Chinese cities for establishment of mega coastal economic zones.

These zones would be areas where laws and procedures would be relaxed to help set up big manufacturing units.

Several Indian states made presentations to the 250-odd Chinese delegates laying down the facilities available there to attract Chinese investments. China’s investment into India is estimated to be less than $1 billion, which both the sides decided to scale up further.

The delegates also decided to push forward the feasibility studies for Delhi-Nagpur high-speed railway and construction of Delhi-Chennai high-speed railway. Both the projects are being executed with the assistance of the Chinese.

China’s Southwest Jiaotong University and the Ministry of Railways agreed to hold training courses in the field of high-speed railway.

India and China have also agreed to cooperate on redevelopment of stations. Bhubaneshwar in Odisha and Devanahalli near Bengaluru have been identified as being the pilots for the project.

The delegates also signed an ‘action plan’ on ‘Digital India’ and ‘Internet Plus’ between the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology in India and NDRC of China.

Under this, both the countries would work to set up a Centre for Excellence in Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles and network connectivity to collect and exchange data.

On smart cities and urbanisation, the working group constituted for the same decided to bring Chinese expertise in setting up waste-to-energy plants because of their vast experience in handling these issues.

In energy, China and India agreed to set up a power plant operation and management service centre, while Chinese investors showed interest in participation in large solar park projects.

“The Chinese businessmen have shown interest in setting up solar cell manufacturing units in India to help India realise its renewable energy goals,” Panagariya said.

The two countries also agreed to set up a steering committee to further their agenda of cooperation, which would have the powers to invite any other agency or agencies from both the countries to advise.

The next meeting of the India-China Strategic Dialogue would be held next year where all these agreements would be reviewed.