The Chinese Consul General in Kolkata, Ma Zhanwu said on Wednesday that his country was mooting a 2,800 km-long high-speed bullet train service between Kunming and Kolkata, traversing through Myanmar and Bangladesh.
“We are looking forward to bullet trains from Kolkata to Kunming. The whole of Asia will be connected,” said Zhanwu while addressing a conference on connectivity and trade relations between China and India.
“With joint efforts of India and China, a high-speed rail link could be established between the two cities,” he said in Kolkata, asserting, “It will only take a few hours to reach Kolkata from Kunming if the rail link becomes a reality”.
However, the Chinese envoy did not reveal whether the proposal was formally meted out to New Delhi through formal channels. The envoy also did not clarify whether the project would fall under the ambitious ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping or will be a standalone initiative.
This project was first considered at the Greater Mekong Subregion meet in Kunming in 2015. Mr Zhanwu adding that his country has been striving for the revival of Silk Route to increase connectivity from Kunming to Kolkata said that the proposed rail link would boost trade flow in the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor.
The Chinese envoy described India as a rising economy and said China wants to maintain stable relations with its neighbours. He added that despite the fall in the value of rupee lately, the rise of Indian economy is irreversible.
This proposal comes at a time when India is said to have sought Chinese investments in the North East states by connecting them with Bangladesh’s Chittagong port, which was shunned until now due to security concerns in the border areas. Latest reports have also said that the two countries have reached a mutual agreement over a ‘large segment’ of the boundary dispute in the eastern section.