Funds for Modi’s pipe dream

Japan offers $35 bn aid to introduce bullet trains in India, other infra projects

Tokyo: Pledging to enhance bilateral cooperation, Japan on Monday promised USD 35 billion assistance to India for the next five years towards funding next generation infrastructure projects, smart cities, rejuvenation of Ganga river and introduction of bullet trains, a project high on the priority of the Modi government.

“Lauding Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s vision for development of world class infrastructure in India, including High Speed Railway system, Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe expressed his hope that India could introduce Shinkansen system (of bullet trains) on the Ahmedabad–Mumbai route,” said the Joint Declaration issued after talks between the two leaders.

Abe expressed his “readiness to provide financial, technical and operational support to introduce Shinkansen system, for which Prime Minister Modi expressed his appreciation,” it said.

The two PMs also decided to speed up negotiations on civil nuclear deal that could not be concluded now.

The two Prime Ministers look forward to the completion of the Joint Feasibility Study on High Speed Railway system on Ahmedabad–Mumbai route, the declaration said. “We agreed to the symbolic Shinkansen bullet train and connectivity between India and its neighbouring countries,” Abe said at a joint media interaction with Modi after the talks.    The declaration said the two Prime Ministers welcomed progress in the ongoing flagship projects of India-Japan economic partnership, such as the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) and committed to accelerate their implementation.

Modi invited Japanese investments in the development of new smart cities and industrial park.

Appreciating Japan’s contribution to the development of urban mass rapid transport system in India, Modi sought Japan’s association with Ahmedabad Metro Project. Prime Minister Abe expressed Japan’s willingness to support the project in a mutually beneficial manner.

Recognising the critical dependence of their economies on imported energy sources and their vulnerability to supply shocks, the two Prime Ministers affirmed their intention to further strengthen energy cooperation through the India–Japan Energy Dialogue.

They shared the intention that India and Japan would explore a higher level of strategic collaboration in the global oil and natural gas market, including through joint procurement of LNG, upstream development of oil and gas, and joint efforts to promote flexible LNG markets, including through relaxation of destination clauses.

The two Prime Ministers also welcomed enhanced cooperation on utilising highly efficient and environmentally- friendly coal-fired power generation technology and progress on cooperation in Clean Coal Technology (CCT).

The two Prime Ministers welcomed substantial agreement on a commercial contract for manufacturing and supply of rare earth chlorides from India to Japan and affirmed their strong resolution for the finalization of commercial contract as well as the commencement of commercial production at the earliest.

The two Prime Ministers affirmed the commitment of both counties to actively engage in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations and to make RCEP a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement. They decided to cooperate further towards conclusion of RCEP negotiations.

Ajay Kaul

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Free Press Journal