Ja­pan Helps In­dia Launch First Bul­let Train Pro­ject


NEW DELHI (Dis­patches) - Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and his Ja­panese coun­ter­part Shinzo Abe on Thurs­day launched the start of work on In­dia’s first bul­let train.

The lead­ers meet at Ahmed­abad in Modi’s home state of Gu­jarat to lay the foun­da­tion stone for the 508 kilo­me­ter (315 mile) Mum­bai-Ahmed­abad High Speed Rai pro­ject.

“A strong In­dia is in Ja­pan’s in­ter­est and a strong Ja­pan is in In­dia’s in­ter­est,” Abe said af­ter lay­ing the stone. He said the part­ner­ship be­tween the two coun­tries was “spe­cial, strate­gic and global”. Modi de­scribed the rail scheme as a “big gift” from Ja­pan. “I con­grat­u­late the peo­ple of In­dia as we have taken a bold step to re­al­ize an old dream of bul­let train,” he added.

The pro­ject, a joint ven­ture be­tween In­dian Rail­ways and Shinkansen Tech­nol­ogy of Ja­pan, is part-funded by a $17 bil­lion loan from Ja­pan.

The first train is es­ti­mated to start run­ning in 2023 but Modi said it should be launched on Aug. 15, 2022, when In­dia cel­e­brates its 75th year of in­de­pen­dence.

The train is ex­pected to re­duce the travel time be­tween Ahmed­abad and Mum­bai from eight to two hours at an av­er­age speed of 250 kph (155 mph). More than 22 mil­lion pas­sen­gers use In­dia’s rail net­work daily but the sys­tem is blighted by aging stock and poor main­te­nance that have con­trib­uted to nearly 590 train ac­ci­dents in the last five years.

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