India and Japan today inked a number of pacts in key areas of transportation, defence and nuclear energy. India’s first bullet train network will come up between Mumbai and Ahmedabad at a cost of Rs 98,000 crore.
The strategic pacts were inked after the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during which they also discussed international and regional issues of mutual importance including UN security reforms.
“No friend will matter more in realising India’s economic dreams than Japan. We have made enormous progress in economic cooperation as also in our regional partnership and security cooperation,” said PM Modi after signing the deal.
The Prime Minister added that PM Abe has been ‘prompt and positive’ about many of the economic proposals which are unique to India.
PM Abe in return said his country’s public and private sector would act in unison to support the growth of India.
Both PM Modi and PM Abe said the civil nuclear deal was not just about commerce and clean energy but also a sign of mutual confidence and partnership for a secure world.
As for the high-speed rail network, it will be built on the Shikansen model known for its reliability and safety. PM Modi noted that Abe’s extraordinary package of approximately $12 billion and technical assistance, on very easy terms, for this project was greatly appreciated.
Bullet train between the two cities will cut travel time on the 505 kilometre route from eight hours to around three. The approx. cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs 98,000 crore.
In the hope of attracting investments as well as greater number of tourists from Japan, PM Modi announced that ‘visa on arrival’ will be extended to all Japanese citizens from March 1, 2016.
The two sides also inked agreements – one concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology and another related to Security Measures for Protection of Classified Military Information.
Terming defence pacts as “decisive steps in our security cooperation”, Modi said they will deepen the defence relations and promote defence manufacturing in India.
“This builds on our decision to expand staff talks to all three wings of the Armed Forces and make Japan a partner in Malabar Naval Exercises,” he added.
The two leaders also issued a joint statement on ‘India and Japan Vision 2025: Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World’.
PM Abe is on a three-day visit to India during the course of which he will also be travelling to Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of PM Modi, and take part in the aarti on the banks of River Ganges.
(With IANS and PTI inputs)