China will help India build a 1,754-km-long high-speed rail corridor between Delhi and Chennai, which could be the world's second-longest bullet train line after China's own 2,298 km-long Beijing-Guangzhou line, which was launched last year.
China runs a 300-km per hour train on the 2,298 km-long Beijing-Guangzhou line, which takes eight hours to cover the distance and a similar high-speed train on the Delhi-Chennai route could take take around six hours to cover the 1,750-km distance.
The Delhi-Chennai high-speed line, however, could cost around $32.6 billion, state-run China Daily quoted Chinese officials as saying.
A high-level team of the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited led by Satish Agnihotri is currently in China to chalk out plans for conducting a feasibility study for the 1,754 km-long high-speed rail line that will connect the capital New Delhi with the southern city of Chennai.
"The team is in China now. We expect them to sign the agreement this week," a spokesman of the ministry of railways said, adding that an agreement with China for conducting the feasibility study is expected to be signed this week.
China had, during President Xi Jinping's visit to India in September, agreed to conduct the feasibility study for the rail corridor free-of cost, officials pointed out.
China will also help India identify the technical inputs required to increase speed on the existing railway line from Chennai to Mysore via Bangalore.
The Delhi-Chennai route is part of the proposed Diamond Quadrilateral project, which aims to build a high-speed train network between different cities, including Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Chennai-Kolkata, Kolkata-Delhi and Mumbai-Kolkata.
China has agreed to provide training in heavy-haul systems for 100 Indian Railways officials and help in the redevelopment of existing railway stations and establishment of railway university in India. The training was expected to begin soon.
India is courting Japan and France as well for developing high-speed rail corridors.
Currently, India's fastest train, the Rajdhani Express, covers the distance between Delhi and Chennai in 28 hours.