India, Japan ties on infra development offer opportunities for Singapore cos

India, Japan ties on infra development offer opportunities for Singapore cos

Tokyo has provided $12 billion loan at a negligible interest rate for bullet train project.

The Dollar Business Bureau

India and Japan have come together in a major way for developing strategic and civilian infrastructure in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and abroad that can distinctively benefit Singapore, said a leading Indian researcher.

Rupakjyoti Borah, visiting research fellow at National University of Singapore (NUS), said that India-Japan partnership offers business opportunities to Singapore’s infrastructure companies that are ‘too good to miss’.

He further said Singaporean companies could collaborate with firms in India and Japan, not just for building, but also maintaining the infrastructure projects.

“A notable area could be the port (sector) as Singapore has rich expertise in this area,” Borah said, while speaking at the Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore.

Borah further said that being a major energy importer, Japan is looking at enhancing relations with Iran and in the aftermath of nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in 2011, Tokyo has had to reduce its production of nuclear energy.

In addition, India and Japan have agreed to collaborate on developing civilian infrastructure in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which is situated very near to the Straits of Malacca, a congested point, said Borah.

Likewise, there are also opportunities for cooperation between these two nations in other countries such as Myanmar, he said.

Japan has been proactively supporting India in its infrastructure development. “India has been the largest recipient of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) since 2003-04,” he added.

India’s Delhi Metro project is an example of ODA from Japan. In addition, Japan has contributed financially for Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), which passes through seven states of India, is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world.

“This was one of the ways in which Japan thanked India for contributing to its economic recovery after the devastation caused by the World War II, by supplying much-needed iron ore," Borah said.

He also cited the example of Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC), which is aimed at increasing trade between South India and the Southeast Asia, is also financially supported by Japan.

A deal has also been signed by India with Japan to launch bullet trains between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, Borah said, mentioning that for this project, Tokyo has provided a loan of about $12 billion at a very reasonable interest rate.

Japan has also earmarked about 96 billion yen ($845 million) as loan for the development of roadways in the northeast region of India.

During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tokyo in 2014, Japan had agreed to offer 3.5 trillion yen as assistance to New Delhi over the coming five years.

India has created a ‘Japan Plus’ office in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to look into problems faced by Japanese firms in India.

The Dollar Business Bureau - May 30, 2017 12:00 IST