A land cable-link proposed between India and China

The land linkup, being called a "new silk road" is being proposed by China's biggest fixed line operator which says that it sees "India as a major market."

"We hope that this Sino-Indian land cable can start as soon as possible to promote ties between the two fastest growing economies," Deng Xiao Feng, Chairman and Chief Executive of China Telecom's Hong Kong based international arm was quoted as saying by Wall Street Journal.

"We know the demand is enormous," Deng whose company entered the mobile phone market in 2008 by buying China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd.India and China are currently linked by undersea cables, which are vulnerable to earthquakes, among other things, telecom experts said.

The paper said that China Telecom was talking to Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Tata Communications over an above ground cable connection linking the two Asian giants.

But the Chinese Telecom executives dismissed the acquisition of a network or stake in an Indian carrier for the project citing licensing and regulatory hurdles in India, the Journal said.

Deng said the company was awaiting the nod of the Indian government to open a representative office in New Delhi.The Chinese executive said there would not be a much time lag to complete the project as the two nations could make use of a landline which his company has already laid on the chinese side of the border.

Wall Street Journal said that China Telecom and its rivals China Unicom and China Mobile were spending heavily on marketing and handset subsidies to attract subscribers. For the first half of the current year the company profit rose by 0.9 per cent to USD 1.36 billion.

The China Telecom chief executive said his company was closely examining opportunities to expand through acquisitions within the Asia-Pacific region and favours footprint beyond a single market.

The company has opened centres in Hong Kong and Singapore investing USD 25.8 million and is now looking at Japan and Australia for future expansion.

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