Alstom, leading global player in mass public transport, is drawing up plans to expand its operations in India besides getting its foreign vendors to set up shop in the country. “India is one of the key world markets. We are already invested there. We expect the market to boom in the coming years, and we are looking ahead with that perspective. The recently launched Urbalis Fluence and Axonis signalling and train centric solutions, which will be made available to Indian market, are an example of our commitment to strengthen Indian solutions. We are planning to become fully localised and for that we would like our foreign vendors to set up bases in India,’’ Alstom Transport Solutions Global President Heri Poupart Lafarge told a team of Indian journalists here.

Mr. Lafarge said Bangalore had emerged as a big R&D centre for global players, and Chennai could possibly be in the running for setting up of major manufacturing facilities in the future. Alstom is one of the bidders for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s Phase III rolling stock and signalling system.

“The head count in India, especially the Bangalore centre, is likely to double to 500 by next year. We have been motivated for the local content. We will impress upon our vendors to set up manufacturing bases in India to enhance the local content in the price sensitive market,’’ he remarked.

Mr. Lafarge said Alstom was in discussion with the Indian Railways for building e-locomotives.

He said the first set of nine trains, being produced at the Lappa facility in Brazil, were now being shipped to India, and would reach Chennai soon. As of today, four car body shells had been produced and approved by the Chennai Metro Rail Limited. The first delivery of metro cards from the Chennai plant was expected by 2014, he added.

(This correspondent was in Paris at the invitation of Alstom)

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