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PM Modi thanks Shinzo Abe for Rs 88,000 crore loan at 0.1 per cent interest

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe today laid the foundation stone for India's first bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

BT Online | September 14, 2017 | Updated 15:00 IST
Shinzo Abe in India: PM Modi receives Japan PM at Ahmedabad airport, Modi-Abe visit Sabarmati Ashram

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today inaugurated Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed bullet train project.

Speaking on the occasion, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan is committed to the scheme of 'Make in India' and the Indo-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global.

"A strong India is in Japan's interest and a strong Japan is in India's interest," Abe said after laying the foundation stone of the project at a ground at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad.

"My good friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a far-sighted leader. He took a decision two years ago to bring high-speed train in India and to create a new India," he further said.

"I hope to enjoy the beautiful scenery of India through the windows of the bullet train when I come back here in a few years," Abe added.

He also said that two years back Indian Prime Minister Modi took a decision of getting high-speed bullet train and he chose Japan's Shinkansen technology.

"No accidents have been reported ever since Shinkansen was launched in Japan. Japan's know-how of the Shinkansen technology will aid India's Railways system," Abe said.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore in a tweet said that Bullet train is a major step forward in transforming India's transportation sector and enhancing efficiency in infrastructure. He also said that high-speed rail project will bring Mumbai-Ahmedabad region into a single economic zone.

01:30 PM Bullet train project is new India's lifeline: PM Narendra Modi

10:50 AM: Next generation growth will happen at places where there are high speed rail corridors: PM Modi

10:45 AM: India won't get friends like Japan which has agreed to pay Rs 88,000 crore for bullet train at just 0.1 rate of interest: PM Modi

The Rs 1.10 lakh crore train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is expected to be completed by 2022. The train would cover the distance of over 500 km in around two hours. Japan extended a soft loan that India can re-pay in next 50 years.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed bullet train project is a joint venture between Indian Railways and Japan's Shinkansen Technology. The prime ministers of the two countries also laid the foundation stone for an institute that will come up at Vadodara where around 4,000 people will be trained for the bullet train project.


6:30 PM:  PM Modi, Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe visited the famous Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad after their visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, where they paid their respects to Mahatma Gandhi.

5:00 PM: Abe and his wife changed into Indian attire for the roadshow. 

3:40 PM: Modi and Abe's road show ends. Both the Prime Ministers reach Sabarmati Ashram

3:10 PM: Prime Minister Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's mega road show to Sabarmati Ashram begins in Ahmedabad. The Cultural Road Show showcases glimpses of Indian culture and traditions, from across the states.

02:58 PM: Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accorded ceremonial reception on his arrival at Ahmedabad Airport.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today arrived India on a two-day visit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed his Japanese counterpart at the Ahmedabad Airport. This is Abe's second visit in just two years. Abe's last visit to the country was in 2015.

Shinzo Abe's quick visits to India show how these two Asian leaders have cemented their relationship over time. After his arrival in Ahmedabad, Prime Minister Modi and Shinzo Abe will take a part in a mega road show which is scheduled later in the day.

Prime Minister Modi will also take Shinzo Abe for a tour around the 16th century-old Sidi Saiyyed mosque which is a part of Indo-Islamic architecture. The mosque is known for its Jali, intricate lattice work. Sidi Saiyyed is an architectural marvel which was built by Sidi Saeed or Sidi Saiyyed in 1573 and is located near the center of Ahmedabad Lal Darwaja. Sidi Saeed was an Abyssinian who came from Yemen.

After visiting the mosque, the Prime Minister will host dinner for Abe and his wife at House of MG in Ahmedabad. During this visit, both the Prime Ministers will lay the foundation stone for India's first high-speed bullet train at a stadium near Ahmadabad's Sabarmati railway station. On Tuesday, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had informed that bullet train will revolutionize and transform the transport sector in India.

Japanese Foreign Ministry while talking to reporters said: "We would like to support 'Make in India' as much as possible. And for that, we want to do what's beyond the Mumbai-Ahmedabad line and achieve economies of scale."

The bullet trains in India will initially run between the financial hub of Mumbai and the industrial city of Ahmedabad in western Gujarat. It will cover over 500 KMs in about two hours. Japan's Prime Minister has offered to provide 81 per cent of the funding for the 1.08-trillion-rupee project, through a 50-year loan at 0.1 percent annual interest.

Growing India-Japan Ties

Prime Minister Modi and his Japanese counterpart Abe have taken India-Japan relationship to a new height. The root of growing bonhomie between the two Asian leaders have also to do with neighbouring rival China. India and Japan both have expressed their concerns against China's expansionist behaviour. Recently when India was locked-in with China at the Doklam, Japan supported India and said that no country should try to change the border unilaterally.      

Not only this, Japanese investment into India has gone up in areas ranging from automotives to infrastructure. Japan is now the third-largest foreign direct investor in India. New Delhi is also in talks with Tokyo to buy amphibious aircraft - ShinMaywa Industries' US-2. If the deal goes through, it would be one of Japan's first arms transfers since ending a self-imposed embargo.

It is win-win case for both the countries. Japan hopes that by gaining a head start on rival exporters of rail technology such as China and Germany, its companies will be able to dominate business in one of the most promising markets for high-speed rail equipment.

In 2015, China won a contract to assess the feasibility of a high-speed link between Delhi and Mumbai, part of a network of more than 10,000 km (6,214 miles) of track India wants to set up, but little progress has been made.

(With inputs from agencies)



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