On a day when the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train was performed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi felt that the project will create a “single economic corridor between Gujarat and Maharashtra”, while his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe saw a stronger bond emerging in the Pacific and Indian Ocean region.
“Today is a historic day. It is the beginning of a new phase of relations between India and Japan. My happiness knows no bounds in being present at
India’s hi-speed rail network event,” said Abe while speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the Rs 1,10,000 crore project. Japan will be funding 81 per cent of the project cost, through a soft loan.
“Compared to other bilateral relations of the world, the relations between Japan and India are full of potential. A strong India is in the interest of Japan and a strong Japan is in interest of India,” said Abe as the audience applauded. Abe began his speech with a “Namaskar” and went on speak in
Japanese that was translated in Hindi by an interpreter. He described the bond between the two countries as an intermingling of Indian and Pacific Oceans that is headed for a bright future.
He remembered the year 1964, when the high-speed rail network — Shinkasen — was launched. It helped transform the social and economic status of Japan from a heap of rubble it was reduced to after the World War II, he said.
“My friend Modi is a farsighted leader. Two years ago he took a decision to bring high-speed railway to India and build a new India. For this, Japan’s Shinkasen was chosen. I, my government and the companies in Japan have together pledged to support this decision of PM Modi,” Abe said as chief minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani and his counterpart from Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis clapped from the dais.
Abe said the “Ja” of Japan and the “I” of India together makes “Jai” which stands for victory. “Jai India and Jai Japan is what we need to work towards,” he said adding that he was looking forward to a “special, strategic and global partnership.”
PM Modi called Abe a close friend. “He took personal interest to see that the project remain hurdle-free,” Modi said as he delved on the positives that the project will bring to India.