Modi, Abe flag off bullet train project, ink 15 pacts
EYE ON CHINA Japan’s PM calls for greater role for both nations in region
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Thursday laid the foundation of India’s first high speed rail project, linking the country’s commercial capital Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the main city in Modi’s home state Gujarat.
The ₹1,10,000-croreproject– popularly called the bullet train – aims to modernise the country’s vast colonial-era rail networks.
Modi said the project will “bring speed with safety” to rail operations besides contributing to the country’s economic development by generating jobs.
The high speed rail projects constitute a part of the “New India” plan, the Prime Minister said, adding the NDA government’s approach would be to bring “more productivity through high speed connectivity”.
The two prime ministers also launched, through video conferencing, construction work for a high speed training institute at Vadodara to train technicians in operating the high-speed track technology.
An agreement for the highspeed project, a joint venture between Indian Railways and Japan’s Shinkansen Technology, was first signed in May 2013 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Tokyo.
India and Japan on Thursday signed 15 agreements to broadbase ties between the two countries and strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, where China is increasingly get assertive.
With Modi beside him, Japanese premiere Abe called for a greater role for Japan and India to keep “democracy and rule of law” intact in the region.
“Our ties now lead the global system based on the rules of Indian and Pacific oceans and has developed into a special strategic and global partnership,” Abe said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the bullet train project.
Beijing’s naval expansion has both India and Japan worried.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the ground breaking ceremony for the MumbaiAhmedabad high speed rail project in Ahmedabad on Thursday