Japan and India: PM ABE launches Indian bullet train deal

Japan and India: PM ABE launches Indian bullet train deal

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat in mid-September 2017, tightening ties between the two nations, as Modi and Abe increasingly see eye to eye in countering growing Chinese assertiveness across Asia.

The move by Abe highlighted an early lead for Japan in a sector where the Chinese have also been trying to secure a foothold, without much success.

Modi has made the 500-kilometer-long high-speed rail link between the financial hub of Mumbai and the industrial city of Ahmedabad in western Gujarat a centerpiece of his efforts to showcase India’s ability to build cutting-edge infrastructure.

“This technology will revolutionize and transform the transport sector,” said Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, welcoming the prospects for growth brought by Japan’s high-speed shinkansen technology.

In Tokyo, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official told reporters, “We would like to support ‘Make in India’ as much as possible,” referring to Modi’s signature policy to lure investors in manufacturing.

India will make “all-out efforts” to complete the line by August 2022, more than a year earlier than planned, the government said. Japan is providing 81 percent of the funding for the 1.08-trillion-rupee (U.S. $16.9 billion) project, through a 50-year loan at 0.1 percent annual interest.

Japanese investment in India has surged in areas ranging from automotives to infrastructure in the remote northeast, making Tokyo its third-largest foreign direct investor.  Reuters