Modi, Abe seal historic N-deal, put bullet train project on track
Japan to loan $12 billion for Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed train; 16 agreements signed
NEW DELHI: Japan and India on Saturday concluded negotiations for a landmark civil nuclear pact and Tokyo agreed to give a $12 billion loan for the country’s first high-speed train in a big boost to the ties between Asia’s second and third largest economies.
The annual summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe also paved the way for India getting Japanese defence technologies and equipments and coordinating their shared position on the contentious South China Sea issue.
Once signed, the nuclear deal will make it possible for US firms GE and Westinghouse to invest in India because their strategic Japanese partners like Hitachi and Toshiba aren’t allowed to trade with countries that do not have a civilian nuclear agreement with Tokyo. As they talked business, the two leaders also lavished praises on each other, Abe using the metaphor of his country’s iconic Shinkansen bullet train service – high speed, safe and reliable -- to describe the economic policies of Modi.
Modi returned the compliment by saying, “No friend will matter more in realising India’s economic dreams than Japan” after their hour-long summit following which the two countries signed 16 agreements.
Later, the bonhomie between the leaders were in full display at the historic city of Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Modi, where Abe was witness to a dazzling display of the Ganga aarti at the Dashashwamedh ghat.
For India, the biggest achievement was the “agreement” for the civil nuclear pact which came after more than five years of protracted negotiations. Once the pact is vetted by legal and technical teams of the two countries, it will head for approval from the parliament in Japan.
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