Sources said many Chinese teams have met road transport and highways ministry officials in recent weeks and have conveyed their interest in Indias large road projects, including those in which Japan is interested.
Sources said China is also open to picking up a stake in the proposed entity to be formed on the lines of an asset reconstruction company (ARC) for the highway sector. Chinese investors are looking at the roads, highways and expressway projects that run parallel to the projects with Japanese investments, the sources added. The investments could be either by directly participating in the bids or through a join venture with Indian firms. They have expressed interest in taking up only construction contracts given their expertise in the area,an official said.
Some analysts see the move as a counter to Japanese investments in the sector. Japan has limited exposure in roads and highways, but China still has some investments in terms of joint venture contracts which are in public-private-partnership (PPP) projects. China has been interested in the highway sector for quite sometime but due to diplomatic relations and extensive security clearances not much has come from China, said Vishwas Udgirkar, senior director(infrastructure) at Deloitte.
Road ministry ministry feel India can harness Chinese capabilities to improve its infrastructure, including construction of high-quality highways, expressways etc. There is another meeting with Chinese delegation on Wednesday, they added.
Sources said that Chinese delegations want to streamline some specific project participation before Chinese premier Xi Jinpings visit next week. Xi has already conveyed his message that China wants to collaborate with India at the bilateral as well as regional and global levels. Beijing could come up with some big-ticket investment projects that could yield
immediate results, the official added.