Japan Offers Help For Mega Delhi-Mumbai 'Industrial Corridor'

Japan is fourth largest foreign investor in India.

Japan on Dec. 14 pledged cooperation to create a mega "industrial corridor" including a high-speed train link between India's capital New Delhi and its financial hub Mumbai.

The project would bring together clusters of high-quality infrastructure and development, including special economic zones and ports, on a slender corridor over the 1,160 kilometers (725 miles) between the two cities.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Akira Amari, the Japanese trade minister, that India expected active investment by Japanese companies on the project once it is fully developed, the official said.

Amari and Kamal Nath, the Indian minister of commerce and industry, on late Dec. 13, signed a memorandum on cooperation between the two governments on the project between New Delhi and Mumbai.

Japan is the fourth largest foreign investor in India and has been looking to improve ties with New Delhi amid frequent political frictions with China due in part to wartime memories.

Total investment in the infrastructure for the industrial corridor is estimated to be at least six to $10 billion but Japan has not made clear how much it will invest.

Japan, which provided low-interest loans to build congested New Delhi's new metro system, has said it will consider financing the proposed high-speed freight railway between New Delhi and Mumbai once the details are known.

Singh and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to sign an agreement Dec. 15 to start negotiations on the bilateral free trade pact.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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