State-owned China company wins bid for study into New Delhi-Mumbai high-speed rail link

BEIJING (AFP) - A consortium led by a state-owned Chinese company has won a bid for a feasibility study into a high-speed rail link between India's political and financial capitals New Delhi and Mumbai, the company's parent said, in what could lead to a major deal between the Asian rivals.

China Railway, a spinoff from the former railway ministry, said the line will be around 1,200km long but provided few other details.

China has hugely expanded its own high-speed rail network in recent years, and it is now the largest in the world with around 17,000 kilometres of track in service, according to China Railway.

Beijing has been actively promoting the technology abroad - often with lower bidding prices and favourable loan conditions - in a bid to capitalise on the lucrative international market and upgrade the "Made in China" brand.

China Railway said on Wednesday the consortium, which also includes Indian companies, won the bid to carry out the study, saying the Indian award "fully reflected the approval of China's high-speed rail technology by the international society and the international fast rail market".

India has also solicited bids for feasibility studies on lines between Mumbai and the southern city of Chennai, and linking New Delhi and Calcutta, the company added.

China in May signed a memorandum with Russia to invest billions of dollars in a high-speed rail line linking Moscow and the Volga city of Kazan.

But its push has also had some setbacks.

Last year Mexico cancelled a contract for a Chinese-led consortium to build what could have been Latin America's first high-speed rail line amid questions over the legality of the bidding process.

Indonesia earlier this month dumped plans for its first high-speed railway in favour of a slower and cheaper rail option, in a blow to Japan and China who have been fiercely competing to win the construction contract.