India, China to sign road pact during PM’s visit

October 19, 2013

Moushumi Das Gupta , Hindustan Times

Impressed with China’s highways infrastructure and superior standards for construction and maintenance, a bilateral pact on cooperation in the road transportation sector is set to be signed between the two countries during PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to China next week.

At 65,000 km China has world’s second largest network of expressways. So far, however, China has a limited presence in India’s highway sector. Only six Chinese companies, under joint ventures with Indian firms, are  involved in building highways. All six companies have participated and won the bids for the projects.

The broad area where India wants to seek cooperation includes management of road infrastructure technology, standards for highway construction and maintenance, road safety intervention strategies aimed at reducing death and injuries resulting from road accidents, etc. India also wants to know more on how China has dealt with contractual issues and financing of highways build in public private partnership mode.

India and China can bond along the Stilwell Road

October 18, 2013

Subir Bhaumik

(Beijing hopes that India…)


During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s India visit in May, India agreed to “explore the possibilities of the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor” with China. But New Delhi is going slow on this. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits China this month, the Chinese will push for the BCIM plan. China has already been in discussion with Myanmar and Bangladesh to take this forward. During Singh’s Beijing visit, China will also offer to declare Kunming and Kolkata as sister cities to carry forward the process.

 It is New Delhi and not states in the east or north-east that fear Chinese trade and investments along the corridor. This trade can only boost their economies. The opening of the Stilwell Road, built during World War II, is a case in point. Assam’s industry minister Pradyut Bordoloi and Arunachal Pradesh’s former governor J J Singh have been enthusiastic about opening the road to China-India trade. Unlike the Nathu La pass in Sikkim, the Stilwell Road is capable of handling 20-25 per cent of Sino-Indian bilateral trade. But a powerful defence-commerce ministry lobby has blocked it all these years.

China has modernised its part of the road and its companies are doing that in Myanmar now. Only 66 km of the road falls in India — so, if the Chinese army uses it to amass troops on the Indian border for a surprise offensive or dump their products in a trade war, they can do it even if India does not formally open the road. Also, trade with India via Arunachal Pradesh will immediately stop all claims of that region as “southern Tibet”.

Note how quickly China shed its reservations on Sikkim, after trade resumed through the Nathu La pass. JJ Singh, a former army chief, advocated an Indian presence on the road for pragmatic reasons, but that did not help with the mandarins in Delhi. So, an alternate route was chosen for the BCIM car rally in February-March: it started at Kolkata, passed through Bangladesh and India’s north-eastern states of Assam and Manipur, and ended in Kunming, Yunnan via west and north Myanmar.

Now, China wants the car rally route to be converted into the BCIM Friendship highway and turned into an economic corridor with industries, trading entrepots and tourism infrastructure developed around it. This is an excellent idea. Large parts of China, contiguous with south Asia, are landlocked. The Strait of Malacca is a choke point that China wants to bypass through overland trade through Myanmar, Bangladesh and the north-east. Beijing wants to transform BCIM into a live regional grouping to integrate the two most populous nations of the world and use the Bangladesh-Myanmar corridor to help Chindia draw south-east Asia into the world’s strongest future economic bloc. Beijing hopes that India sheds its fear of encirclement by China and creates a win-win situation for both countries in Asia, from south-east to west.

India, especially its eastern and north-eastern states, would stand to gain much more economically by higher trade and connectivity with China and the rest of Asia. On the other hand, there is no material gain if India acts as a pivot for American interests in south Asia.

A formal push for the BCIM during Manmohan Singh’s China visit may boost investments and help chief ministers or industry ministers in the east and north-east to showcase their states to Chinese investors. If the home ministry can waive its objections and agree to allow Chinese telecom majors like Huawei to invest in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor or the Indian embassy in Beijing can rope in huge Chinese investments for Andhra Pradesh, the east and north-east should not be deprived because the region has a long border with China.





Chinese incursions: Bhutan suffers alongside India

October 16, 2013

By Claude Arpi  


Chinese incursions: Bhutan suffers alongside India


The Indian press recently reported that China was building ‘a massive infrastructure in Bhutan’. A report of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), intelligence agency, apparently warned that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had constructed a new road from Gotsa to Lepola via Pamlung.

While it is difficult to ascertain the details of the RAW report, it is an open secret that China has been very active on Bhutan borders. On August 9, Kuensel, a Bhutanese publication, reported that the National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon arrived in Thimbu to ‘congratulate’ the new Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay after the latter assumed office. Tobgay was indeed happy to host Menon in Bhutan; Delhi had just promised some 5,000 crore Rupees to assist the implementation of Bhutan’s 11th Plan and its Economic Stimulus Plan. However, oh surprise, Shivshankar Menon was accompanied by the new Indian Foreign Secretary, Sujatha Singh. Why this ‘double’ visit? The NSA does not usually travel with the Foreign Secretary. Indeed, there was more than the usual patting. It soon became clear that the NSA’s main purpose was to advise the Bhutanese Government on how to handle border talks with China.

The 21st round of boundary talks between Bhutan’s Foreign Minister, Rinzim Dorje and the Chinese vice minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was to be held a couple of weeks later. This made Delhi nervous. These border talks indeed have serious strategic implications for India’s security and Delhi’s own negotiations with China probably needed to be ‘synchronised’ with Thimpu. The New Indian Express asserted: “NSA spoke to his interlocutors about the current status of the India-China border talks. But, with the political leadership in Bhutan being brand-new, Menon took the opportunity of the Foreign Secretary’s visit to share Indian ‘experience’ and knowledge of Chinese negotiation tactics to advice Thimpu on the way forward.”

Delhi was particularly anxious after Thimbu had decided, during a previous round of talks with China, to have a joint technical field survey in one of the disputed areas in the central sector (eventually, the 21st China-Bhutan border talks held in Thimphu on August 22 agreed to conduct the joint survey of the 495 sqkm in the Pasamlung area, north of Bumthang). Another claim by China, the Doklam Plateau is adjacent to the hyper-strategic Chumbi Valley. That is the real nightmare for India.

It is a fact that China never liked India’s monopoly over Bhutan’s foreign affairs. Liu Zengyi, a research fellow at Shanghai Institute for International Studies wrote in The Global Times, “New Delhi sees Bhutan as little more than potential protectorate”. Referring to China’s attempts to establish diplomatic relations with Bhutan, the Chinese scholar admitted: “India won’t allow Bhutan to freely engage in diplomacy with China and solve the border issue.”

The Global Times’ article alleged that Indian ambassador to Bhutan VP Haran followed a ‘carrot-and-stick’ policy and ‘played a big role’ in the victory of the Opposition Peace and Democratic Party (PDP) over the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT). Beijing acknowledges that for India, China’s advances in the Doklam area is a strategic threat to the Siliguri corridor: “As a country located between China and India, Bhutan serves as a buffer and is of critical strategic importance to the Siliguri corridor, a narrow stretch of land (known as ‘chicken’s neck’) that connects India’s northeastern States to the rest of India. …Delhi worries that China will send troops to the corridor if a Indian-China military clash breaks out.”

It is indeed a serious issue for India. Even if India’s special influence over Bhutan is acknowledged by China, New Delhi needs to keep a tab on the China-Bhutanese negotiations, which could definitively impact the India-China talks. Though China and Bhutan do not have direct diplomatic relations, last year, Jigme Thinley, the then Bhutanese Prime Minister met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of a United Nations summit in Rio, establishing a first formal contact. Historically, during the 1962 India-China border war, Beijing was not too happy when the Bhutanese authorities permitted some Indian troops to retreat through southeastern Bhutan.

Though Bhutan formally has maintained a policy of neutrality, during the following years, Thimphu quietly expanded its economic ties with India. In the 1970s, several incidents of cross-border intrusions by Chinese soldiers as well as Tibetan herders were reported and when Thimphu and New Delhi protested against the incursions into Bhutan, Beijing ignored the Indian protest, responding to the Bhutanese complain only.

In 1996, China offered a package deal to Bhutan: Beijing was ready to renounce its claim over the 495 sq kms of disputed land in the Pasamlung and Jakarlung valleys in exchange for the Doklam Plateau, a smaller track of disputed land measuring a total of 269 sq. kms located in the Northwestern part of Haa District. The Doklam Plateau is extremely close to India’s ‘chicken neck’ area (The Chumbi Valley) and the Siliguri corridor connecting the Northeast to the rest of the country.

Since then, talks are going on.

In 1998, China signed a peace agreement with Bhutan to ‘maintain peace and tranquility’ on the Bhutan-China border. For the Bhutanese, it was a de facto recognition of their territorial integrity and independence. A Bhutanese blogger believes that for Bhutan, “This is clearly a case of being caught between a rock and a hard place.” It is clear that the claim on the Doklam Plateau is a second thought for China. In 1959, there was no discrepancy between the Chinese and Bhutanese maps (except for eastern Bhutan where Beijing did not recognise the McMahon Line). At that time, Beijing commented: “The strength of a horse is known by the distance travelled, and the heart of a man is seen with the passage of time, …China’s peaceful and friendly attitude toward India will stand the test of time.”

The ‘passage of time’ has shown that China was an unreliable horse, not only the PLA has intruded in several areas of India and Bhutan, but it has also built important infrastructure, such as the road from Yatung to Phari in the Chumbi Valley cutting across the Doklam Plateau. The Chinese engineers have also built traversal roads and set up a communication network within the disputed area. How to dislodge the Chinese is not an easy proposition.

By grabbing the Doklam Plateau, Beijing considerably enlarged the Chumbi Valley and its access to Sikkim and Siliguri; let us not forget that the Siliguri corridor is one of India’s most critical areas along the India-China border. Let us hope that Delhi will keep watching and preserve its vital interests.




Postal highway project in limbo

October 9, 2013


JANAKPUR, : Eight access roads that Nepal and India had agreed to complete in the Tarai this year under the postal highway project have completely fallen by the wayside.

According to a bilateral agreement inked around three years back eight access roads were to be constructed in Dhanusa, Mahotari and Sarlahi districts by this November 12. But only Birendrabazar-Mahinathpur road in Dhanusa is under construction.

India had released more than Rs 2.5 billion for the project 29 months ago.

A meeting was held in Janakpur a few days back to discuss the factors leading to the delay.

Indian ambassador Ranjeet Rae, who attended the meeting, held the construction companies and the government of Nepal responsible for the tardy pace of the project.
“Had the government of Nepal handed over the task to the construction companies and the contractors had taken their responsibility seriously, the work would have already completed by now,” said Rae.

International companies such as Vishma, Wivi and SR Joint Venture had bagged the tenders for the project.

Chief at Janakpur Division Office of the postal highway project, Kishore Roy blamed Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and the Department of Forests.

“Even though we allocated the budget to remove electrical poles and trees along the road sections, NEA didn´t take the work seriously,” he said. “Moreover, had the construction companies started the construction immediately after the agreement, the progress would have been satisfactory.”

The project includes the construction of the access roads of Janakpur-Jatahi (12.06 km), Janakpur-Yadukuha (17.05 km), Janakpur-Jaleshwore-Vitamode (19.75 km), and Birendrabazar-Yadukuwa-Mahinathpur (32.35 km) in Dhanusa.

Maisthan-Gausala-Sashi (26.90 Km) and Jaleshowore-Hardikhola (27.20 km) in Mahotari, and Nayaroad-Barhathwa-Madhubani (40.31 Km) and Nawalpur-Mangalwa (26.59 km) road sections in Sarlahi are the remaining access roads to be constructed under the postal highway project.




India, Thailand hopeful of trilateral highway by 2016

September 17, 2013



Bangkok invited Indian investment in various sectors

An ambitious project to develop a 3,200-km highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand was an important item on the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit here.

On Thursday, Dr. Singh and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra expressed the hope that the highway would be ready by 2016.

India has already given Myanmar $500 million in loan, a part of which will be used to fund the project.

A joint statement issued at the end of the talks between the Prime Ministers said India welcomed Thailand’s proposal to host the next India–Myanmar–Thailand Joint Task Force Meeting on the Trilateral Highway Project, and the second meeting of the Thailand-India Joint Working Group on Connectivity and Infrastructure in June-July 2013.

It said Thailand proposed to host the third India-Myanmar-Thailand Ministerial Meeting on Transport Linkages to address issues of infrastructure so as to maximise the use of the highway for strengthening regional growth and integration.

At the delegation-level talks, Thailand informed India of the progress Thailand and Myanmar had made in the development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone in southern Myanmar. Once operational, the project would further enhance connectivity and open enormous business opportunities for the region.

Thailand invited Indian businesses to invest in the Dawei Special Economic Zone, especially in steel, manufacturing, power, petrochemicals and services.

The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to carry through the talks for a Thailand-India Free Trade Agreement.


Source -

Indian firm wins contract to help build highway in Ethiopia

September 17, 2013



An India-based consulting company has won a $1.46 million contract for consultation and supervision of the construction of the 133 km Kombolcha-Mille highway project in Ethiopia.

The company, Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats Pvt. Ltd. (ICT) is working in a joint venture with the Ethiopia-based Civil Works Consulting Engineers. It has been in Ethiopia for 17 years and has undertaken more than 25 road projects with the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA). “We have worked with ERA on various projects like this and we never failed them, I guess that is why we are going to undertake this project as well,” Saurabh Sharma, country manager of the company, told IANS.


Indian firm wins contract to help build highway in Ethiopia

Indian firm wins contract to help build highway in Ethiopia “The fact that the people we are working with are polite and ready to learn keep us going back to work with them,” he said adding, “Indian companies are known for delivering projects on time”. ICT India won the bid against five companies. “ICT India offered a lower price and, at the same time, surpassed other competitors in the technical evaluation,” an ERA official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

At this point, the road exists in the form of a gravel road. “It will thus be upgraded to asphalt, which will smoothly and efficiently accommodate traffic flow and enhance the region’s economic activities,” said the official. “The project that connects the Amhara Regional State with the Afar Regional State will be funded with a loan acquired from the World Bank (WB),” he said. The road is expected to be used as an import-export route as it would reduce the travel time to the Port of Djibouti. Sharma said his company is planning to participate more in international projects to increase its business.
Source -

India, China to sign cooperation pact in road sector

September 12, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |


NEW DELHI: India and China are set to sign an agreement for cooperation in the road and transport sector when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Beijing in October. One of the areas would be cooperation in sharing of information on transport infrastructure.Government sources said the transport ministries of both sides have approved the details of the proposed agreement.

Sources said the identified areas of cooperation include sharing best practices in road and bridge building technologies, policies, intelligent traffic system besides road-related issues. China has taken huge strides in building world class highways, and has built over 60,000 km of expressways. Plans are afoot to build around 18,000 km of expressways in India.

China has also made a mark in speedy implementation of infrastructure projects, particularly road and rail. “Once we have technology sharing, it will help us push the pace of construction. They have also improved their record in reducing road deaths in the past six-seven years. Cooperation will open a window of opportunity for both the countries,” an official said.

Around half-a-dozen road projects are being built with participation of Chinese companies. Sources said all these projects were bagged by private entities in which Chinese firms had a share.

Sources said no project has been identified that can be taken up under this cooperation. “This is just a beginning. As we progress, projects will be identified,” the official said.

The other major area of cooperation will in the electronic mode of collecting toll (ETC). China is way ahead of India in this sector. India also plans to bring all toll plazas on national highways under ETC so that people can pass through all plazas using a single smart card.

India and China will also cooperate in the field of intelligent traffic system, vehicle specifications and their certification. While India is likely to benefit from Chinese sharing of information and knowledge, China will learn from India’s success in implementing public-private-partnership projects.

Last year, former highways minister C P Joshi had reached out to Chinese infrastructure companies to invest in the road sector. He had said around 40 road construction projects were being undertaken by companies from China, Russia, the UK, Dubai, Singapore, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Spain and Thailand.


“BOT + EPC” mode to help Chongqing high-speed road traveling light

August 3, 2013

Analysis Daily by Trainee reporter Li Li


Chongqing Daily News By enabling BOT (build – operate – transfer) + EPC (Design – Procurement – Construction general contracting) the new model will be completed by the end of the Chengdu-Chongqing section of double track the actual investment ratio estimates savings of nearly 100 million yuan. Days ago Chongqing Expressway Group held a news conference that the city one thousand kilometers of new highway 20 projects 17 projects using ‘BOT + EPC’ construction management. Currently, Chongqing Expressway Group is to participate in building a new one thousand kilometers of highway projects 15, of which 12 projects nearly 700 kilometers enabled ‘BOT + EPC’ the new model, the introduction of capital of about 71 million, reducing the Group’s direct debt of about 51 billion yuan (including interest on bank loans and produce.

Currently, the city has started a new 1,000 km highway construction, 20 projects involving 1,036 km, estimated investment of 104.3 billion yuan( To raise funds for construction, to avoid the drawbacks of the traditional model, Chongqing Expressway Group vigorously BOT + EPC model, including the Chengdu-Chongqing Pipeline , Manley, Wanda, Feng Zhong, Zhong Wan, copper Wing, South Road, Jiang Qi, Yu Guangzhou, Liang Zhong, unitary along the other 12 projects, nearly 700 kilometers, have adopted such a model.

Chongqing Expressway Group Vice President Du Guoping said, BOT + EPC mode has the advantage lies in the integration of resources, in order to reduce the links and reduce costs, thereby improving efficiency. Du Guoping said: ‘The traditional model, the final estimate of the actual investment is often exceeded 10% 15%, while the new model to take BOT + EPC will reduce investment, such as Chongqing, Chengdu-Chongqing Pipeline segment, the investment budget for the more than 8.5 billion yuan, the actual investment will save about 100 million yuan. ‘

BOT model to the traditional sub-project bidding and contract segment, change management, and other aspects and more, and through BOT + EPC mode, reducing the tender and change link. But also in the new model, the material scale of centralized procurement, the cost is greatly reduced. Chengdu-Chongqing section of double track as the general contractor in charge, China Railway Construction Corporation Limited Chengyu double-track project construction headquarters chief engineer Zheng Gang have the final say, he said, ‘In the past a small number of retail price to buy is now in large quantities, is taking the wholesale price. ‘

Chongqing Jiaotong University, Associate Professor Huangxian Gui said, BOT + EPC mode is the current international and domestic construction projects are being implemented organization and implementation of the new model(Finance News This model reflects the ‘saving design is the biggest savings,’ the idea of ​​the model for promoting highway engineering Survey design and construction of the strategic restructuring of enterprises, foster internationally competitive large construction companies, the implementation of ‘going out’ strategy is important.



World Bank funding for Nepalese Bridge

July 30, 2013

source -



FTA wants shift to out-of-hours deliveries

July 30, 2013


A shift to out-of-hours deliveries could improve road safety, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA)  

The FTA says such a move would reduce congestion and interaction between good vehicles and vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians, during peak times.

This message has been taken up by a major Transport for London publication. One year on from the highly successful delivery by the logistics industry of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Transport for London (TfL) has published its ‘Transport legacy – one year on’ report.

As a result of restrictions on night-time deliveries, and the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) which restricts the movement of heavy goods vehicles over 18 tonnes at night and weekends, there are more lorries on the road during the rush hour peak of 7 to 9am.

If restrictions were relaxed, then some HGV traffic could be taken out of those peak hours, reducing the potential for conflict with other road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. FTA is pleased that TfL recognises the benefits that this can bring and calls on London councils to work with TfL and industry to urgently review the LLCS and other night time delivery curfews.

Earlier this month FTA launched its own vision for London entitled ‘Supporting economic growth in London – efficient logistics’. One of the key points made in the report is that with over a million more people expected to swell London’s population over the next 15-20 years, demand for delivery and servicing activity is set to increase, resulting in the need to make more efficient and flexible use of the capital’s roads. This means enabling quiet out-of-hours deliveries to take place to ensure that the increase in freight traffic is not forced into peak hours.

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London, said: “Out-of-hours deliveries can provide real environmental, financial and important safety benefits. This is not about a complete shift from daytime to night-time deliveries, but smoothing out the peaks and troughs over a 24-hour period to ensure greater utilisation of vehicles, reduce congestion and importantly reduce the potential for conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.”


« Previous PageNext Page »