Japan in ‘India’s high-speed rail dilemma’

   The latest development of India’s first high-speed rail project, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail, which Japan “snatched from China”, has once again attracted online attention. Japan’s Asahi Shimbun and other media recently revealed that the high-speed railway is only about 10 kilometers under construction. The epidemic has caused construction delays, and the construction cost of the high-speed railway has been seriously inflated. The Japanese government will continue to provide additional loans to India. Japan has received a “hot potato”, and many parties are reflecting on the lessons brought by the project. According to the “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” on June 14, the high-speed railway is 508 kilometers long. Since construction started in 2017, only about 10 kilometers have been built so far.
   During the reporter’s stay in India, the reporter learned about the background of this high-speed rail project. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed railway is India’s first high-speed railway. India has always hoped to transform and upgrade its old and backward railway system, thereby promoting “Made in India”. In the face of the Indian railway market, China and Japan were actively fighting for it. Japan has especially put a lot of thought into this. When Modi visited Japan in November 2016, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made an exception to modify the reception plan and invited Modi to test the Shinkansen with the purpose of promoting the Shinkansen to India. Although India and Japan did not sign a high-speed rail agreement at that time, Japan hoped to use its power to compete with China by winning the Indian contract. To this end, Japan provides 5 trillion yen of low-interest loans as a competitive bargaining chip. At that time, China was also trying to enter the Indian high-speed rail market, and a lot of work was done to this end. But in the end, out of geopolitical considerations, India boldly gave Japan its first high-speed rail project.
   However, in the eyes of Japanese media, the project currently faces three major difficulties: First, the delay in land acquisition. The second is the continuous expansion of project costs. According to a report by Japan’s “Yomiuri Shimbun” on June 14, the total project cost calculated by the Japanese government was 1.68 trillion yen, but the epidemic caused construction delays and increased labor costs, and the cost has ballooned to about 3 trillion yen. The Asahi Shimbun said that at present, the two governments have changed the target period for the opening from 2023 to 2028, but how much the project cost still needs to be filled has not been disclosed.
   An executive of a Japanese international company recalled in an interview with reporters that the total project cost estimated by the Japanese government at the beginning “can be seen by anyone with a little experience, it is impossible to do at all. It is obviously a project won by the Japanese government through gritted teeth. Deliberately lowered the price. At that time, the Japanese government and China were fighting a high-speed rail business war in Europe and other places. In order to win, they could no longer care so much.” The executive also said that although the opening was delayed from 2023 to 2028, no one believes that the opening will be completed in 2028. Third, Japan and India do not trust each other.

   In the rounds of sanctions against Russia, Europe was finally “returned”, and high inflation hit all ordinary people on the European continent and forced them to take to the streets to protest. The root cause of all this is that Europe follows the U.S. sanctions against Russia. Relevant experts told reporters in an interview that the current core division in Europe is the Europe of ordinary people and the Europe of elites.
   “This price increase like a huge wave has impacted my life in all aspects.” Clemens from Nuremberg is a doctoral student whose life has been severely tested by the overall price increase in Germany. The EU’s sanctions against Russia were eventually “returned”, pushing the EU’s inflation level to the highest level in history. The rising prices are sweeping the whole of Europe, and ordinary people like Clemens are not immune.
   In an interview with reporters, Clemens quite helpless. The cruel reality gave her the first dismay, that is, within a month of moving to Berlin in April, the landlord gave a “ruthless” notice: Because of the unexpected surge in natural gas prices, the rent must be raised from 778 to 825 euros. Clemens told reporters that although German prices have been rising, they have been relatively slow before. “It’s different now. The overwhelming rise has impacted my life in an all-round way, and the rent is not the last straw that overwhelms me.” During the interview, the reporter learned that Clemens’s life is in the “backlash” triggered by sanctions. ” has completely changed. Because of soaring gasoline prices, Clemens did not hesitate to carpool with his colleagues. And food prices in supermarkets are also rising.
   The reporter also interviewed Sonia van den Ende of the Netherlands, an investigative reporter for a news agency, who found that the whole of the Netherlands is being submerged in rising prices, and the increasing cost of living, especially gas and electricity bills, has unaffordable for ordinary people. She told reporters that gasoline prices can rise by 100% in a month at the highest point, which leads to an average monthly cost of about 300 euros for a Dutch family with two children, plus rising water bills. The monthly expenditure of a Dutch family will reach 500 to 600 euros.
   Sonia van den Ende told reporters, “Everyone has been greatly affected, and a friend of mine had to sell the house and rent a caravan at a holiday camp to reduce the extra cost of having to pay for the house. A large amount of expenses.
   Deep in the inflation crisis, the cost of living has soared, Europe should not blindly follow the United States in reflection. According to previous media interviews, some German experts said that Europe should not blindly follow the United States to increase sanctions on Russia, because it is Europe who pays the price Ordinary people in various countries

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