Japanese PM Abe to lay foundation stone for India's first bullet train

Wednesday 13th September 2017 07:34 EDT

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone for India's first bullet train Gujarat, this week, as both India and Japan look forward to tighten ties mere days after New Delhi ended a tense military confrontation with China. Abe's two-day visit to the country showcases an early lead for his country in a sector where the Chinese are known to have been trying to secure a foothold.

The 500 km long high-speed rail link between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is yet another one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to flaunt India's ability to build cutting-edge infrastructure. Both the leaders will launch the start of work on the line on September 14. Indian Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said, “This technology will revolutionise and transform the transport sector.” Japan will provide 81 per cent funds for the 1.08 trillion-rupee project, through a 50 year loan at 0.1 per cent annual interest. Ties between both the countries are seen to have blossomed as Modi and Abe share similar views in counter growing Chinese assertiveness across the continent.

Both the countries also intend to boost plans for New Delhi to buy Japanese amphibious aircraft , ShinMaywa Industries' US-2, what would be Tokyo's first arms transfers since ending a self-imposed embargo. A Japanese Foreign Ministry official addressed reporters saying, “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.”

During Abe's visit, he and Modi will hold the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit in Gandhinagar- the fourth such event between the two leaders. The Ministry of External Affairs said, “The two leaders will review the recent progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their special strategic and global partnership and will set its future direction.” Both of them will also take a tour of Dandi Kutir in Gandhinagar, India's largest museum showcasing the life and teachings of the Mahatma.

Regarding the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, a senior MEA official said talks were going on and Inia was looking at collaboration with Japan in third countries. “This (the talks) is acquiring gradual maturity.” The AAGC is an economic cooperation agreement between the governments of both countries.

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