14 September 2017

India, Japan start work on high-speed train during Abe visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
India and Japan launched work on a high-speed train line in the western Indian state of Gujarat on Thursday during a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The “bullet train” will link Ahmadabad, the main commercial city in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s native state, to India’s financial capital of Mumbai.

The 500-kilometer (310-mile) project will be financed by a Japanese credit of $17 billion and is expected to be completed by 2022. The loan carries a nominal interest rate of 0.1 percent to be paid over the next 50 years.

Abe and Modi also laid the foundation stone for an institute that will be set up in Gujarat’s Vadodara city to train around 4,000 people to run the high-speed train system.

Analysts say building the train line will give a boost to infrastructure development in India’s fast-growing western industrial region, contribute to economic growth and decongest crowded cities.

“A strong India is in Japan’s interest and a strong Japan is in India’s interest,” Abe said after he and Modi pressed a button at the foundation laying ceremony for the train line.

Talks between Modi and Abe focused on security at a time when both countries share concerns about a rising China, an Indian official said.

The two countries made progress on an Asia-Africa growth initiative to pool Indian and Japanese efforts to strengthen infrastructure in African countries, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told reporters.

Following the talks, officials from India and Japan signed 15 agreements aimed at widening and deepening their partnership, including an “open skies” policy to promote more flights between the two countries, an acceleration of Japanese investments in India and a policy of enhancing connectivity in India’s remote northeastern states that border China.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, front row, sixth left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, front row seventh left, attend the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.


Jaishankar said Japan raised concerns about North Korea following its recent nuclear test.

“There was a lot of discussion understandably on North Korea. Japan underlined its concerns in strong terms and it was an issue where there was a complete meeting of minds,” Jaishankar said. India will fully observe a U.N. Security Council resolution on tightening sanctions again North Korea, he said.

The two countries also stressed the importance of holding accountable all countries that have supported North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, a reference to China.

Trade between Japan and India at $15 billion is only a quarter of India’s trade with China. Japan is currently India’s third largest investor.

The countries are almost polar opposites. India’s chaotic cities and its youthful population contrast starkly with Japan’s orderly society, immaculate streets and mature economy. But those differences complement each other, and Abe and Modi repeatedly emphasized shared interests and values.

(AP)       
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, front row, sixth left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, front row seventh left, attend the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, front row, sixth left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, front row seventh left, attend the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.                             
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hold hands during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hold hands during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.               
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi share a lighter moment during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi share a lighter moment during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.                             
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.                       
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center right, press a button to launch a high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center left and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center right, press a button to launch a high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.                             
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave during the ground breaking ceremony for high speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center left, accompanied by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center rides in an open vehicle through the streets of Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center left, accompanied by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center rides in an open vehicle through the streets of Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day visit to India.                               
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk together at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk together at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.                            
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.                
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk past a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk past a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.                              
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk inside Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk inside Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.                                
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.                     
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe look at sculptures of three proverbial monkeys at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe look at sculptures of three proverbial monkeys at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, accompanied by his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive on an open vehicle at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, accompanied by his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive on an open vehicle at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, flanked by his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive in an open vehicle at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, flanked by his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive in an open vehicle at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stand beside scultures of three monkeys at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, his wife Akie Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stand beside scultures of three monkeys at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk inside Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk inside Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.                       
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pay their respects in front of a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pay their respects in front of a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Akie Abe signs the visitors book, as her husband Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stand by and watch at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.
Akie Abe signs the visitors book, as her husband Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stand by and watch at Sabarmati Ashram, or Gandhi Ashram, in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Abe is on a two-day official visit to India.

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