Hong Kong: India is interested in partnerships with China for road and high-speed rail projects, minister of road transport and highways Kamal Nath said on Monday.
“We would like to foster partnership (between) India and China in infrastructure - especially for high speed railway networks, there is a very good opportunity for China and India,” said Kamal Nath, speaking at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong.
India is inviting overseas participation in the country’s road projects but the government hasn’t publicly discussed plans for high-speed rail.
In July last year, Nath said he expected foreign investors to fund half of the $20 billion per year earmarked for road construction and was seeking investment from pension funds and private equity.
India will need to spend $70 billion building roads over the next three years as it looks to infrastructure spending to stimulate demand and boost the economy. Of the total, $40 billion could come from private investors, with a quarter of that coming for overseas.
Any partnership with Chinese firms could be politically sensitive in India, where many regard Chinese companies with suspicion.
In January, three engineers with a Chinese construction firm were arrested and charged with homicide in connection with a chimney collapse in Korba district of Chhattisgarh that killed 41 people. The government has also recently tightened visa requirements for Chinese workers.
India has launched the world’s biggest public-private partnership programme to develop 15,000 km of roads and highways over the next three years.
Nath, who assumed his current post in May 2009 after serving as commerce and industry minister from 2004, has been carrying out road shows since last year to drum up overseas investment for road projects.