PM Modi and Shinzo Abe launch India’s bullet train project: India,Japan ink 15 pacts to deepen ties
Following the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail project, PM Narendra Modi said that the “new railway philosophy” will be the lifeline to a new India.
“This is not just the start of a high-speed rail,” Modi said in a joint address to the media with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after the 12th annual bilateral summit between India and Japan.”Keeping in mind our needs in the future, I believe this new railway philosophy will be the lifeline to a new India,” he said. “India’s continuing development has now been linked to high speed.”
“It’s not the time to move forward slowly as time doesn’t wait. The bullet train will bring in convenience and safety, employment and speed,” Modi said at the launch of this venture with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad.
In his speech, Modi took on those who were criticising him over it “When I was in Gujarat and used to speak about the bullet train, they said Modi only talks of bullet trains in India… They kept asking when will he get it. Now that they see I have actually got the Bullet Train to India, they ask why are you getting a Bullet Train?” the Prime Minister said.
“Our stress is now on high-speed connectivity which will improve speed, reduce distance and ensure economic progress,” he added.
“It’s a new India which has to fly high,” Modi said. He said the ambitious project would bring pace to development in the country and that no country can grow if they don’t dream big. “To grow one needs to expand his dreams and decide his strength to achieve that,” the Prime Minister said.
The ambitious project, which was today launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, would cost around Rs 1,10,000 crore, trains on this network will run at peak speeds of 350 k/hr. Japan is giving a loan of Rs 88,000 crore for the project at a minimal interest of 0.1 per cent.
Modi termed it as a “big gift” from “friend” Japan the project, which when completed, would see India’s first bullet train run at a maximum speed of 350 km per hour,covering the distance of 500 km between the two cities Ahmedabad and Mumbai in less than three hours instead of the usual seven now.
The government wants to start the services of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-Speed Rail Network on 15 August 2022 to mark India’s 75th year of Independence. A 21-km-long tunnel will be dug between Boisar , an industrial area in Palghar District in Maharashtra and Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, of which seven km will be underwater.
The railways will require only around 825 hectares of land for the project as 92% of the route will be elevated, six per cent would go through tunnels and only the remaining two per cent would be on the ground.
To start with the train would have 10 coaches with a total seating capacity of 750 passengers. Later, it is proposed to have 16 coaches with a seating capacity of 1,250 passengers. The train would have two categories of seats, executive, and economy, with the prices comparable with the base AC 2- tier fare of the Rajdhani Express.
In the initial days, around 1.6 crore people are expected to travel by train annually, adding that by 2050, around 1.6 lakh commuters would be traveling by the high-speed train on a daily basis.
Shinzo Abe lauded Modi for being a “farsighted” leader in thinking of bringing the high-speed train to India. “My good friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a farsighted leader. He took a decision two years ago to bring a high-speed train in India and to create a new India,” he said.
Modi and Abe signed 15 agreements including one to give a fillip to India’s Act East policy by enhancing connectivity and developmental projects in India’s northeast with more flights between the two countries. and collaboration in areas of defence, security, trade, and civil nuclear energy.
“The growing convergence between Japan and India on strategic and economic issues has capacity to stimulate the global economy,” Modi said in a press statement with Abe. The Japanese PM called his country’s ties with India “special, strategic and global.”
Shinzo Abe was accorded a rousing welcome on his arrival in Ahmedabad on Wednesday with Modi receiving him at the airport, pitched for India as the “factory of the world”, a direct challenge to China, which is the global manufacturing hub.
“Japan in committed to Make in India. If Japan’s high-level technique mergers with India’s best human resources, India will become the factory of the world,” Abe said, referring to the NDA’s government’s ambitious plan to turn India into a global manufacturing powerhouse.
A crucial portion of their declaration was about collaborating in Africa, where 54 resource-rich countries present a ripe market. The partnership merges India’s Act-East and Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategies with their policy for engagement with the African continent, home to 15% of the population.
The support of these countries is also vital for New Delhi and Tokyo’s aspirations of a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.
The unveiling of the strategy follows China’s one belt, one road (OBOR) connectivity plan that also aims to deepen engagement with Africa and countries in the region.
In the statement, Modi and Abe have also called upon Pakistan to bring to justice terrorist groups responsible for carrying out the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai and the attack on the IAF base at Pathankot in Punjab in 2016.The two leaders have also resolved to strengthen cooperation against Al-Qaida, Islamic State, and Pakistan-based JeM and LeT.
The joint statement called for countries in the region to “ensure development and connectivity infrastructure in an open, transparent and non-exclusive manner based on international standards and responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment”.