Japan Bids to Finance India’s First Bullet Train

January 14, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. bid / bɪd / (v.) – to offer to pay for something
Example: They bid $25,000 for the painting during the auction.

2. counterpart / ˈkaʊn tərˌpɑrt / (n.) – a person who does the same job as someone but usually in another place
Example: The Japanese prime minister met with his counterpart, the Taiwanese president.

3. locomotive / ˌloʊ kəˈmoʊ tɪv / (n.) – a vehicle that allows a train to move by either pushing or pulling it
Example: The first locomotives were powered by steam.

4. promising / ˈprɒm ə sɪŋ / (adj.) – likely to produce good results
Example: The project didn’t look promising because it lacked funding.

5. identity / aɪˈdɛn tɪ ti / (n.) – who a person is
Example: The donor requested to keep her identity a secret.


Read the text below.
Japan is bidding to cover more than 80% of the cost of building India’s first-ever bullet train.

Aiming to increase its presence in South Asia’s infrastructure industry, Japan promised to finance India for a railway linking Mumbai with Ahmedabad. The loan is estimated to reach $15 billion, at a very low interest rate.

China, one of the early bidders, has not offered any loan yet after it assessed the possibility of creating a high-speed train in India. This makes Japan the leading bidder so far. According to A. K. Mital, the Indian Railway Board chairman, among the several bidders, only Japan offered both technology and funding.

Japan expressed its willingness to cover most of the project’s expenses provided that India buys 30% of the rail equipment, including passenger cars and locomotives, from Japanese manufacturers. Toshihiro Yamakoshi, the Japanese Embassy’s economic section counsellor, emphasized that the Japanese firms were eager to work closely with their Indian counterparts. However, in Mital’s opinion, having to purchase and transport the equipment from another country will make the process more difficult.

The normal journey time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is seven hours. Building a bullet train connecting the two stations would cut down the time to two hours. To make this possible, it will require billions of dollars from the Indian government.

Despite the promising benefits of a bullet train, an Indian railway official who wanted his identity be kept anonymous said that he is doubtful about spending large amounts for the project. The official mentioned that different departments are considering whether it is better to create a single high-speed train or modernize India’s existing railway system instead.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think Japan wants to expand its presence in South Asia?
·         Do you approve of Japan’s initiatives to expand and invest in various regions? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What other projects or initiatives do you think would benefit India? Why do you think so?
·         If you were to develop a project in any country, what would it be and why?

January 14, 2016