New Delhi: In a big set back for China, Indian Railways on Friday cancelled the tender for the manufacturing of 44 rakes of Train 18, which has been re-christened as Vande Bharat Express. The move comes after the Chinese joint venture company CRRC Pioneer Electric (India) Private Limited emerged as the only foreign bidder among the six contenders for manufacturing 44 sets of semi-high speed train.Also Read - IND vs NZ | 2nd Test, Day 3: India Need 5-Wickets to Clinch Series, Ajaz Patel Scalps 14

The other five bidders were the state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the Bharat Industries, Sangrur, the Electrowaves Electronics (P) Limited, the MEDHA Servo Drives Private Limited and the Powernetics Equipment India Private Limited, according to the Railway Ministry. Indian Railways” Integral Coach Factory in Chennai had floated the tender on July 10. Also Read - Unofficial 2nd Test Between India A and South Africa A Ends in Draw

In a statement, the Railways said that a fresh tender will be floated within a week’s time, focusing on Make in India as a Chinese Joint Venture also applied as a foreign bidder. “Tender for manufacturing of 44 sets of semi high-speed train set (Vande Bharat) has been cancelled. A fresh tender will be floated within a week as per revised public procurement (Preference to Make in India) order,” the statement read. Also Read - RT-PCR Test, Mandatory Quarantine: How These States Brace to Tackle Omicron Variant | Full List Here

Reports have claimed that the Railways is keen to ensure that a purely domestic entity bags the tender and once it was felt that the Chinese JV was a front-runner for the project, it was scrapped.

Notably, India has tightened trade ties with China after 20 Army jawans were martyred following violent face-off at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh.

Earlier, when India and China were involved in a tense border stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the railways had scrapped a tender for thermal cameras meant for “COVID-19 surveillance” after Indian firms alleged that the tender specifications favoured a Chinese company.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) too had terminated a Rs 470-crore contract with a Chinese firm at that time.

All You Need to Know About Train 18 

Train 18 was manufactured by ICF, which is owned by the Indian Railways, with over 80 per cent indigenous materials and was rolled out in October 2018 amidst much fanfare.

The train was later re-christened as Vande Bharat express and was introduced between New Delhi and Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, in February last year. In October last year, the second Vande Bharat Express train was introduced between New Delhi and Katra.

In December last year, Indian Railways had planned to complete the production of 44 more new rakes on India’s 75th Independence day. All the coaches of Vande Bharat Express have a stainless steel car body equipped with automatic doors with sliding footsteps, on-board computers for train control and remote monitoring. The coaches also have a GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system, on-board hotspot WiFi and comfortable seating arrangements.

(With agency inputs)