NEW DELHI: An opinion piece in a Chinese state-run media outlet panned India’s “protectionist stance” towards Chinese investment in revamping the country’s railways, including the development of a high-speed rail network.
The Global Times op-ed cites a Reuters report which revealed that the Narendra Modi government has given companies in India’s private sector access to “annual purchases worth up to $700 million” because the state-owned Steel Authority of India (SAIL) failed to meet rail-track production targets.
While the article says this move toward the private sector is laudable, what is short-sighted is New Delhi’s protectionist policy against Chinese steel imports. This would prove to be a hindrance in the long term, the Global Times piece said.
“It would also be sensible for the Indian government to consider giving up on its protectionist mentality – that is often seen in the use of trade remedies on steel imports from China – for there to be a sufficient and reliable supply of rails for the modernization of the world’s second most populous nation,” it said
Raising the issue of India imposing anti-dumping duties on certain Chinese steel products for six months, China called it another trade barrier which would inhibit the country’s rail network from developing efficiently.
As for its move toward a high-speed rail network, New Delhi decided to look to Japan rather than to rival China for help. That hasn’t gone down well with Beijing.
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The editorial extolls the virtues of China’s railways and especially its bullet train technology.
“India has stayed vigilant against China and has chosen Japan as a partner for the country’s first high-speed railway project which is expected to commence in 2018. However this doesn’t mean that it is in India’s best interest to bar China from entering into partnerships on other bullet train projects. It needs to be pointed out that India actually needs China more than China needs India in the arena of steel rail manufacturing and train technology,” the article said.