【环球时报报道 驻印度、日本特派特约记者 苑基荣 孙秀萍】12日，一列从东京开往神户的新干线列车上，日本首相安倍晋三把一杯热气腾腾的咖啡递给到访的总理莫迪，安倍在火车上如此热情地招待客人，很大程度上是为了向印度推销新干线。印度计划建设7条高速铁路，去年日本已拿下大单。虽然此次日印两国没有签署有关高铁的协议，日本仍希望在印度未来的高铁建设中施展拳脚。
(Report by Global Times, by Yuan Jirong and Sun Xiuping, special correspondents of Global Times in India and Japan) On November 12th, on a Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Kobe, Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, handed a cup of hot coffee to the hand of Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. Prime Minister Abe was treating her Indian guests with such enthusiasm as a gesture to promote Shinkansen to India, to a large extent. India plans to build 7 high-speed train railways, and Japan received several large orders from India in last year. Although there is no agreement reached between India and Japan with regard to the high-speed train project, Japan does hope to play an even greater role in India’s construction of high-speed trains and railways in the foreseeable future.
The paramount leaders of India and Japan on the same train
In order to urge India to use Shinkansen technologies in several other railways, Prime Minister Abe made an exception by rescheduling the reception plan. The report of Asahi Shimbun (Japan) on November 12th says that Abe and Modi were scheduled to head for Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Kobe separately, but Abe strongly suggested that he take the same train with Modi, as both sides would have the chance of “detailed dialogue about the Shinkansen” in the same train. After arriving at the factory, Abe served as a “tourist guide” for Modi, and they visited the manufacturing plant of the E5 series used for the northeast Shinkansen, whose maximum speed may reach 320 kilometers per hour.
The report of Nikon Keizai Shimbun (Japan) says that Abe is convinced that Modi has very high opinions of Shinkansen, and Abe mentioned in specific that “Japan is the home town of Shinkansen”. On the other hand, Modi says that he is looking forward to Shinkansen.
In December of 2015, India and Japan signed the agreement of high-speed train and railway that amounts to 12 billion U.S. dollars. The first Indian high-speed railway that uses the Shinkansen technologies links Mumbai and Ahmedabad, running for 505 kilometers. After the completion of the railway, the travel time between the two cities will be shortened from 7 – 8 hours to 2 hours. The comprehensive construction cost of the project amounts to around 980 billion Indian rupees (around 14.7 billion U.S. dollars).
The report of Sankei Shimbun (Japan) says that the Japanese enterprises are also looking forward to Modi’s Japanese tour with great enthusiasm. For them, the chances exist not only in high-speed train and railway projects, but also in other infrastructure facilities including railway and electric power, etc. They expect the commercial and trade opportunities to be expanded to the related fields. India boasts a population of 1.3 billion, heralding a huge market of great promise. The report of NDTV (India) says that India can provide for Japan better market opportunities than any other Asian nation. If India decides to use the Shinkansen technologies in 5 of its high-speed railways, Japan will be the biggest winner without doubt.
The huge market size of India
India has one the world’s largest railway networks. However, the Indian railway network is frequently criticized of its low operation efficiency due to its age-old history and slow upgrading process. In 2013, the Indian Ministry of Railway founded HSRC (High Speed Rail Corporation of India Limited), which oversees the feasibility research and finance of the high-speed railway projects in India. Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party of India led by Prime Minister Modi, proposed the grand project of “Diamond Quadrilateral”, which has been adopted as the chief plan of the high-speed railway construction. According to the plan, 7 high-speed railways will be built in the future, connecting the major cities of India and running for over 4.6 thousand kilometers.
The report of “Voice of America” says that although the high-speed railway between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is not included as a major line in the “Diamond Quadrilateral” plan, it will become an exemplary of India’s high-speed railway network after the construction is completed with success.
China is an equally capable competitor
The report of The Times of India says that the Indian government intends to promote the notion of “Make in India’ by choosing the Shinkansen technologies in its high-speed railway projects. However, there are subsidiary conditions in the “preferential package” offered by the Japanese government. According to the agreement, 30% of the necessary equipment of the high-speed railway project needs to be imported from the Japanese manufacturers. It is seen as a huge blow for the efforts of Modi government.
On the other hand, the first railway factory of China CNR Corporation in India will be put into production in this year. China boasts world-leading systemic technologies in high-speed railway constructions. Compared with the high-speed railways in other nations, the Chinese version stands out with higher cost performance, smoother operation, shorter period of construction and adequate support of investment and financing. As a result, China is an equally capable competitor on the Indian market in the future.
The report of Kyodo News Agency (Japan) says that China is sparing no efforts to take part in the high-speed train industry of India. The Chinese enterprises has already started with feasibility research of the high-speed railway connecting the urban circle of Delhi and Chennai. The report of “Voice of America” also believes that China is capable of offering India a comprehensive plan that suits the practical conditions of India. China has achieved notable progress with its high-speed railway constructions in multiple nations, and the technologies of China’s high-speed railway have already won international reputation. ▲