The big highlight of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit is tomorrow; a public function that he will attend along with PM Narendra Modi to mark beginning of work of India’s first high-speed rail project, popularly called the bullet train. About 10,000 people are expected to attend.
GUJARAT: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe changed into a kurta and Indian-style Nehru jacket today
before going on a roadshow with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after landing in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad for a
two-day visit. Underscoring the importance of India-Japan ties, PM Modi went to the airport and
received his Japanese counterpart with a warm hug. Mr Abe, on his fourth visit to India, paid tribute
at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati ashram. The highlight of his visit will be tomorrow’s launch of India’s
first bullet train project, which will run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The project is getting
financial assistance from Japan.
The two leaders had got into an open-top Gypsy decorated with flowers for the 9-km roadshow. Along the
route, 28 huge stages were built on which schoolchildren held performances highlighting India’s varied
From Sabarmati Ashram, the leaders will head for the famous ‘Sidi Saiyyid Ni Jaali’, a 16th Century
mosque in eastern Ahmedabad. PM Modi will take Mr Abe on a tour of yellow sandstone mosque and explain
its rich heritage and architecture including its famous intricate lattice work.
Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar have been spruced up for the Japanese PM’s visit, complete with hoardings and
cut-outs. In the evenings, streets are shimmering in fluorescent lights. Security is tight and movement
of people restricted — over 9,000 policemen have been deployed across the twin cities.
This morning, in a tweet, PM Modi thanked the Japanese Prime Minister, who in statement ahead of the
visit said, “Prime Minister Modi is a strong leader with an outstanding ability to get things done”.
The highlight of PM Abe’s visit is tomorrow — a public function to mark the beginning of work on
India’s first high-speed rail project, popularly called the bullet train. About 10,000 people are
expected to attend.
“In November last year, I accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a visit to a Japanese Shinkansen
rolling stock factory… It gives me great joy to know those Shinkansen trains will operate on Indian
soil under the Mumbai Ahmedabad high speed rail project,” Mr Abe said in his message.
The 508-km rail project, which will cost an estimated Rs.1,10,000 crore, is expected to be completed by
2022-2023. A chunk of the expenditure will come from Rs. 88,000 crore Japanese loan on a minimal, 0.1
per cent interest, which India has 50 years to repay.
At the 12th annual summit, the two leaders will review the progress in the “multifaceted cooperation”
and set the future direction for the special strategic partnership.
This will be the fourth annual summit between PM Modi and Mr Abe, where they are expected to review the
progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their Special
Strategic and Global Partnership.
Japan is one of only two countries with which India has such an annual summit mechanism. The other
nation is Russia.