Laying security scrutinise aside and finally inviting investments from China into infrastructure projects in India, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding towards building Road Transport and Highways including border roads recently. Seeking constructive investments from China which has radically changed the skyline of many of its cities within the past decade, Indian Minister for Road Transport & Highways Kamal Nath met Mr Li Shenglin, Chinese Minister of Transport, in Beijing to enhance cooperation in highway construction, exchange of technology and investments in the sector.
Keeping India’s cracking roads and collapsing bridges in mind as compared to China’s glistening sky scrapers and eight-laned, tree-lined highways, Nath said that India has embarked on a massive National Highway development programme that proposes to build 7000 kilometers of National Highways every year over the next few years. China meanwhile is presently engaged in building around 35,000 kms of national highways of which 10,000 kms is likely to be completed this year. Nath subsequently invited Chinese construction companies and Chinese financial institutions to enhance their engagement with India. Several Chinese companies are already participating in the National Highway Development Project of India either by way of providing equipment or investments.
Nath also met Mr Lou Jiwei, Chairman, China Investment Corporation (CIC) and Mr Dai Xianglong, Chairman of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and invited them to invest in the National Highways sector of India and briefed them on the high returns that the sector promises to offer. CCI is a sovereign wealth fund that manages funds worth US$200 billion, NSSF have a total asset base of RMB 776 billion.
Owning to the huge opportunity in cementing infrastructure ties between India and China, the two sides also decided to set up an India-China Highways Investment Forum for investors, developers and construction companies. The forum would provide a platform for the policy makers, financial experts and the business leaders to work closely towards enhancing project specific investment flows for mutual benefit.