As part of its "Southern Silk Route" China plans to establish a high speed railway link between Kunming and Kolkata through Dhaka and Chittagong, according to reports reaching Dhaka from Kunming, the capital city of China's southern Yunnan province.
The proposal, which found a mention at recently held Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) meeting in Kunming, plans to boost the Bangladesh-China- India-Myanmar (BCIM) multi-modal transport system.
"The high speed corridor would give a fillip to the economies of all the countries of the region," said Li Ji Ming, vice- secretary of Yunnan provincial government. The project looks forward to the newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and other funders for financing it.
Ming was talking to journalists following a successful expo fair in Kunming, which was attended by a large number of South Asian firms.
The 2800 kilometer rail route could be a critical component for the BCIM that seeks cross border movement of goods and people in the four countries.
China has pledged US $40 billion for the Silk Route and $50 billion for the AIIB. The BCIM area has a trade potential of $132 billion.
Yunnan enjoys geographical proximity with GMS and BCIM regions and is only 1000 kilometers away from Chittagong compared to 1700 kilometers to the nearest Chinese port.
It is the epicenter of the China-South, South-East Asia economic corridors.