The contract is worth an estimated Rs 20bn ($US 279.5m).

Both national and domestic companies are understood to have shown interest in the contract to manufacture the 16-car trains, which will be designed to operate at up to 160km/h.

Bids must be submitted by March 24, with a pre-bid conference scheduled in New Delhi on January 23. Interested parties will need to submit a security deposit of Rs 10m or $US 142,500.

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