Tokyo/New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan, in the last lap of BJP’s tenure, has yielded expression of satisfaction by both leaders, in the progress on Modi’s dream project, the bullet train. When world leaders make observations at summits, their quotes have the power to create the desired impact in their domestic constituencies. And this may augur ell for out determined and ambitious Prime Minister.
Never mind recent news reports related to hurdles in in the way of the Mumbai Ahmedabad high speed train posed by farmers protests and litigation over land acquisition, Modi managed to get at the end of the 13th summit an expression of satisfaction from his like-minded friend, on the pace of work on the bullet train as this really matters to him and his party before the general election which is only six months away. Neither the Japanese Ambassador to India, nor the Foreign Secretary, sound hassled about media reports related to land acquisition problems related to the train.
In response to a pointed question at a briefing, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, “Till now, we feel we will be able to meet the 2022 timeline. Yes, there are some land acquisition issues in Maharashtra but we are being told that these would be sorted out by December-January. We are doing our best to start this train service by 2022. Both teams are constantly monitoring this.” PM Modi and his counterpart also discussed the situation in the Indo-Pacific region and threats posed by nuclear terrorism.
An India-Japan Vision Statement issued after the talks said, “The two leaders’ vision for the Indo-Pacific is based on a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, ensures freedom of navigation and overflight as well as unimpeded lawful commerce, and seeks peaceful resolution of disputes…without resorting to threat or use of force.”