Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and Japanese premier Yoshihiko Noda met on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia on Tuesday, reaching an agreement to discuss the potential of bringing Japan’s shinkansen (“bullet train”) technologies to the populated South Asian country. Specific conditions have yet to be set, but India has been looking into a high-speed railway project for the future.
Japan’s experience and developments with bullet trains would specifically be applied to a 680 kilometer (422 mile) route that would connect the Indian cities of Pune, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad, running through several highly populated areas. This would be the central focus of India’s plans, which include six different high-speed train routes across a total of 4,100 kilometers (2,548 miles). The expectation of the Indian government is that equipment be manufactured locally, a strategy that would cut costs, attract investments, and provide new job opportunities.
A representative from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism commented that the sideline meeting between the two countries’ leaders may have given the country a leg up over bidders for the project. Japan’s bullet train technologies and rail cars have only been exported to Taiwan, but earlier this year Hitachi landed a deal to bring $7 billion worth of high-speed trains to the U.K. In addition, several Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand, as well as Brazil in South America, are looking into high-speed train advancements in order to serve their growing economies and populations.