Reuters quoted a spokesman for India's railways ministry as saying that the new rail link would be 1,750 kilometres long. However, the spokesman did not give the estimated cost of the project.
A project agreement for work to start on the feasibility study is “expected to be signed this week”, Reuters said on 25 November. The move follows Chinese president Xi Jinping’s state visit to India last September.
During Xi’s visit, both sides "agreed on specific steps to enhance cooperation in upgrading India's railways sector”. Agreements were also signed for two Chinese industrial parks in India “and a commitment to realise about $20 billion of Chinese investments” in India over the next five years.
According to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, the two countries will also launch training programmes in heavy haulage transportation.
Sachin Kerur of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: “With the new Modi administration now well-entrenched, there is a palpable sense that India’s infrastructure deficit will now be seriously addressed. The rail sector will be a clear beneficiary of this renewed sense of enthusiasm for the sector.”
Kerur said: “Contrary to the misconception held by many, India is very open to joint venturing with other countries in order to facilitate and expedite infrastructure development. It is therefore no surprise that China and India are in dialogue around India’s rail infrastructure. Japan and India have done so for some time now.”
A World Bank paper has said the cost of high-speed rail construction in China is one third lower than in other countries thanks to extensive planning, greater standardisation and the development of “innovative and competitive capacity” in the manufacturing process.
According to the paper, ‘High-speed railways in China: a look at construction costs’ (8-page / 768 KB PDF), by the end of 2013 China had built a HSR network of more than 10,000 route kilometres, “far exceeding that in any other country and larger than the network in the entire European Union”.
A China Daily report published last July said China is considering a 3,000-kilometre railway line linking Yunnan province in the country’s far southwest to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. China Daily said Zhao Xiaogang, the former chairman of China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company and an adviser to the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, estimated the project would cost around $75bn.