Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe launched the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project in the Gujarat city on Thursday.
The bullet train will go from “Aapnu Amdavad to Aamchi Mumbai (My Ahmedabad to Our Mumbai)", said Modi after the inauguration. The high-speed rail project will start operations on 15 August 2022.
Abe and Modi also helmed the annual India-Japan summit in Gandhinagar on Thursday. Abe is on a two-day India visit.
Here are the latest updates from Ahmedabad:
■ Japan’s first lady Akie Abe visited several educational institutes in Ahmedabad on Thursday and interacted with visually impaired members of an NGO. Akie Abe started the day with a visit to the Andh Jan Mandal (the Blind People’s Association), where she interacted with the visually impaired members of the NGO who are being trained in a Japanese massage therapy. (PTI)
■ The finance ministry has signed an agreement with Japan to set up a training institute for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project along with others pacts, envisaging a total loan commitment of about ₹ 6,000 crore. The training institute will help develop the human resources equipped with high level knowledge for the operation of Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Railway. For this Japan has committed loan of 10.45 billion Yen (about ₹ 06 crore), an official statement said. (PTI)
■ A group of farmers in Boisar in Palghar district of Maharashtra staged a protest against the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, expressing apprehension that they would lose their land on account of it. (PTI)
■ PM Narendra Modi presents the book, ‘MannKiBaat - A Social Revolution on Radio’ to PM Shinzo Abe at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar. (PIB)
■ Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp today announced fresh investments of around ₹ 3,800 crore in Gujarat to add a third car production plant. The company along with its partners Toshiba and Denso will also invest around ₹ 1,150 crore for a new unit to produce lithium ion batteries.
The new investment in enhancing capacity of the Hansalpur plant will take the company’s total investment in the facility to around ₹ 13,400 crore, where it has already put in ₹ 9,600 crore on two plants along with another engine and transmission production unit.
The Hansalpur-based plant is Suzuki Motor Corp’s first wholly-owned unit in India.
Announcing the fresh investments, Suzuki Motor Corp (SMC) chairman Osamu Suzuki said the company will invest ₹ 3,800 crore on the third plant which will have a production capacity of 2.5 lakh units annually.
When the third plant starts functioning fully, the SMC’s Gujarat plant will have a total capacity of 7.5 lakh units per annum. He, however, did not elaborate on the time for commissioning of the third plant. (PTI)
■ PM Narendra Modi is speaking at the India-Japan Annual Summit. Main points of his speech:
— The growing convergence between Japan and India on strategic and economic issues has capacity to stimulate the global economy.
— Integrated transport systems are the need of the hour for a new India. Our infrastructure has to be state of the art and futuristic.
— With the strength of our friendship and trust, I invite more and more Japanese people and companies to come, live and work in India.
— I have been saying that 21st Century is Asia’s Century. Today, Asia has emerged as the new centre of global growth.
— Gujarat’s Industry and Government still cherish the fact that Japan became the first partner country in Vibrant Gujarat event.
— As another novel initiative, the foundation has been laid for production of Lithium batteries for electric mobility.
— A series of administrative reforms have significantly improved the business sentiment in the country.
— Japan can benefit tremendously with the size and scale of our potential and skilled hands that India offers.
— When I first visited Japan as CM of Gujarat, I had said that I want to see a mini Japan in Gujarat. Today that dream has come true.
Source: Press Information Bureau
■ Four locations have been finalized for development of Japanese Industrial Townships in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, says PM Modi.
■ PM Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe at India-Japan Business Plenary in Gandhinagar.
Earlier, PM Modi, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe along with Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki visited Suzuki exhibition booth at Mahatma Mandir Centre in Gandhinagar.
They also inaugurated Bullet Train Research Institute in Vadodara via video conferencing.(ANI)
■ Strongly pitching for a “zero- tolerance" approach towards terrorism, India and Japan today agreed to strengthen cooperation against terror groups like Al-Qaida and Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe asked Islamabad to bring to book the perpetrators of terror strikes, including those involved in the Mumbai (2008) and Pathankot (2016) attacks, according to a joint statement issued after their annual summit.
The two leaders also condemned in the “strongest terms" the growing menace of terrorism and violent extremism, it said.
“They shared the view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is a global scourge that must be forcefully combated through concerted global action in the spirit of ‘zero tolerance’," the document said.
The two prime ministers called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
“They looked forward to the convening of the fifth Japan-India Consultation on Terrorism and to strengthening cooperation against terrorist threats from groups, including Al-Qaida, ISIS, JeM, LeT and their affiliates," the statement added.
Modi and Abe called upon all UN member countries to implement UNSC resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions dealing with the designation of terrorist entities, the statement said. (PTI)
■ Shinzo Abe says Japan-India-US cooperation to be further strengthened, refers to recent Malabar trilateral naval exercise. (PTI)
■ PM Modi and PM Abe condemned in the strongest terms North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons & ballistic missile programs. (ANI)
■ We have agreed upon a Japan-India investment support road map: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe after his talks with Modi. (PTI)
■ PM Shinzo Abe says during the India-Japan joint statement, “India, Japan and the US conducted joint maritime exercise, Malabar for the first time, based on strong ties of trust between PM Modi and President Trump. It (joint naval exercise Malabar) will further deepen cooperation between India, Japan and the US." (ANI)
The Ahmedabad -Mumbai bullet train in 10 bullet points
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe issue India-Japan joint statement. Before this, exchange of agreements between the two nations took place.Here are the main highlights:
— PM Modi says, “Konnichiwa, good afternoon; I welcome PM Shinzo Abe." (ANI)
— In 2016-17, Japan invested 4.7 billion dollars in India, which is 80% higher than last year, reports DD News, says PM Narendra Modi
— I heartily welcome the agreements signed today, they will strengthen India-Japan partnership, says PM Modi. Both countries signed 15 agreements today, says MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in a tweet.
— India-Japan ties not limited to bilateral or regional spheres, we also have close cooperation on key global issues. (PTI)
— Be it the ease of doing business, Skill India or Make in India; India is transforming, says PM Modi. (ANI)
— Japanese PM Shinzo Abe starts by saying, “We appreciate the warm welcome & hospitality. Dhanyawaad." (ANI)
— India Post and Japan Post to start a ‘cool box service’ for Japanese living in India so that they can order their favorite food from Japan, says PM Modi. (ANI)
— I urge Japanese business community to open maximum number of Japanese restaurant chains in India, says PM Narendra Modi. (ANI)
■ BJP president Amit Shah: “I congratulate PM @narendramodi & Japanese PM @AbeShinzo for laying the foundation stone of path breaking Bullet Train project in Ahmedabad," says in a tweet.
In separate tweets, Shah says, “The dedication and commitment of PM @NarendraModi towards building a prosperous India is reflected in every step of the Modi government."
“The high speed Bullet Train will not only pace up India’s growth but will also provide world class service with high standards of safety."
■ Delegation-level talks between India and Japan begin at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, reports DD News. Joint press statements to be issued later today, ANI reports.
■ PMO tweet says, “A focus on next gen infrastructure...PMs @AbeShinzo and @narendramodi lay the foundation stone for India’s first high speech rail project."
“Towards next gen infrastructure...foundation stone for India’s first high speed rail laid by PMs @AbeShinzo and @narendramodi."
■ India is reviewing prospects for at least six more potential bullet train corridors, including one that would connect Mumbai to New Delhi, although no decision has been taken. India has said it is in talks with Japan and other countries for those projects. Read more
■ PM Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visit Dandi Kutir - a museum built on the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhinagar, ANI reports.
■ PM Narendra Modi says, “I congratulate the people of India as we have taken a bold step to realise an old dream of bullet train."
— Japan is such a friend that it gave a loan of ₹ 88,000 crore at 0.1% interest. (PTI)
— When earlier I talked about bullet train, they (opposition) used to say it was big talk, and now when it has come they are saying what is the need for it. (PTI)
— Bullet train is a big gift from Japan to India. (PTI)
— Transport system is of prime importance for a nation’s development. Now next generation growth will happen at places where there are high speed corridors. If technology is used to empower the poor we can win the fight against poverty, ANI reports.
— Our stress is now high-speed connectivity which will reduce distance and ensure economic progress. (PTI)
Five challenges in the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project
■ On the occasion, Abe said the Indo-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global. “A strong India is in Japan’s interest and a strong Japan is in India’s interest," Abe said after laying the foundation stone of the project at a ground at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad.
— My good friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a far-sighted leader. He took a decision two years ago to bring high-speed train in India and to create a new India. (PTI)
— I hope to enjoy the beautiful scenery of India through the windows of the bullet train when I come back here in a few years. (PTI)
— Japan is committed to the scheme of ‘Make in India’. (ANI)
— If we work together nothing is impossible: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe on India-Japan partnership. (ANI)
— I really like Gujarat & I really like India. I will do whatever I can for India. (ANI)
— Japan PM Shinzo Abe says Indo-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global. (PTI)
— PM Modi and I will works towards realising ‘Jai Japan- Jai India’: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. (ANI)
■ India’s first high speed rail project inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad.
■ Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani: “Welcome Japanese PM Shinzo Abe & express gratitude towards Japan. Entire Gujarat is experiencing immense joy today." (ANI)
■ Railway minister Piyush Goyal: “Many people criticized the introduction of Rajdhani but now it is the train everyone wants to travel in. This bullet train will be a symbol of brotherhood between people of India and Japan." (ANI)
■ Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis: “With laying foundation of bullet train, we are also laying foundation of ‘New India’." (ANI)
Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe meet today: 5 things to watch out for
■ The 534-km Rs1 trillion high-speed rail project that will operate trains with average speeds of 200-250kmph will be a game-changer in terms of inter-urban connectivity and establish India as a market for such technologies, said G. Raghuram, director of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, in a Mint column, listing the challenges the bullet train project faces.
■ The bullet train, which has a capacity to accommodate 750 people, is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from seven to three hours, PTI reported earlier. A sum of around Rs1.10 trillion will be spent on the project that is being partially funded by Japan. The target for its completion is December 2023, though officials say there are indications that the government may seek an earlier deadline of 2022. The train will stop at each of the 12 railway stations on the route, but only for 165 seconds, the PTI report added.
Abe, who arrived in Gujarat’s commercial capital Ahmedabad on Wednesday, is in India for the 12th India-Japan annual summit, reported Mint.
■ After a day filled with gestures of friendship and bonhomie underlining the warmth in ties between India and Japan, the prime ministers of the two countries are to sit down for formal talks on Thursday and discuss ways to strengthen the India-Japan partnership both in the bilateral context and beyond.
■ Apart from the marque projects such as the bullet train, and the western dedicated freight corridor, Japan has also joined hands with India to aggressively develop infrastructure projects in India’s north-eastern states as part of the strategy to contain China.