by Elton Gomes
Chinese Consul General Ma Zhanwu, who recently attended a conference in Kolkata, has said that his country is planning a bullet train service between Kunming and Kolkata. The train will also pass through other neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh.
“With joint efforts of India and China, a high-speed rail link could be established between the two cities,” Zhanwu said at the conference, Business Today reported.
“We are looking forward to bullet trains from Kolkata to Kunming. The whole Asia will be connected,” Zhanwu said further while addressing the conference on connectivity and trade relations between China and India. “It will only take a few hours to reach Kolkata from Kunming if the rail link becomes a reality,” he asserted, Hindustan Times reported.
The envoy also said that the inter-country train service could also benefit Myanmar and Bangladesh. “We may have a cluster of industries along the route. That increases the possibility of economic development of countries involved in the 2,800 km-long project,” Zhanwu said.
Zhanwu said that the rail route was aimed at increasing trade flow in the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor. He added that China has been working towards the revival of the Silk Route to increase connectivity from Kunming to Kolkata.
Multiple shared benefits
Although India has raised several issues over China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Chinese envoy said that the project was designed after extensive discussions were held. Zhanwu added that the BRI will have multiple shared benefits for neighbouring countries like India. “This project is not to conquer them,” he clarified, as per a Times Now report. Reiterating his stance on shared benefits, Zhanwu said that a project like the BRI is all about “shared benefits and development” through consultations and discussions.
Since the Doklam standoff, India and China relations have not been something to look forward to. But the Trump administration’s protectionist policies have compelled China to look for new allies, and New Delhi might be one. India-China relations have seen a likely improvement after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jingping in April. Since then, relations between both nations have been a bit better. BJP leader Ram Madhav claimed in August that India-China border disputes have been resolved in large parts. Earlier, in June, China reduced tariffs on 8,549 types of goods from India. China’s actions have been directed towards getting New Delhi to support them. Prior to the India-US 2+2 dialogue, China called India a natural partner in its Belt and Road Initiative, though India refused to endorse the project.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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