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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Malaysian infrastructure skills sought

INDIA is seeking Malaysia's expertise to help it build two rail freight corridors linking several major cities, which will include industrial and logistic parks.

Economic counsellor with the Indian High Commission, B.N. Reddy, said the proposed project has picked up momentum in the wake of the new Cabinet after the general elections.

"Malaysian companies have exhibited their core competency in the development of infrastructure and we feel that they can expand strategic partnerships in the development of townships and industrial centres," he told a media briefing at the one-day Malaysia-India Business Conference 2009 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The Indian economy, which has been expanding rapidly in recent years, has seen increased capacity of rail freight transportation.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp of India, under its Railways Ministry, wants to set up industrial corridors and logistic parks along its alignment.

Under the first phase, it will develop two corridors: western linking New Delhi to Mumbai and eastern linking Ludhiana in Punjab to Kolkata in Bengal.

"Construction cost of the 2,800km railway line is estimated at US$10 billion (RM34.9 billion)."

Reddy said that Japan was financing close to 70 per cent of the construction cost of the western corridor, while the eastern corridor will be partly financed by several sources, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Cumulative Malaysian investment in India to date stands in excess of US$4.5 billion (RM15.7 billion).

The Indian government has expanded the development of infrastructure under its five-year plan to US$500 billion (RM1.7 trillion), including highways, airports and power needs.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk S. K. Devamany, said that Malaysia was looking to leverage on India's expertise in biotechnology, tourism and business process outsourcing.

He identified India, China and the Middle East as the main markets for Malaysian enterprises to develop.

Bilateral trade between India and Malaysia was US$10.5 billion (RM36.6 billion) last year, with imports from Malaysia at US$7 billion (RM24.4 billion).

By Business Times (by Rupa Damodaran)

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