Then Xi, now Abe: Ahmedabad gets ready to host Japanese PM

India, Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSR Corridor Foundation Stone to be Laid

Ambiguity continues over land for bullet train terminus in Maharashtra

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail project is a key project of the NDA government that is expected to reduce the travel time between two cities by almost five hours.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will begin his two-day visit to India on Wednesday where he and Prime Minister Modi will hold the 12th India-Japan annual summit in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are set to green flag the project on Thursday, September 14. "This makes the occasion more important, as he is visiting a state on the very first day of his India visit", Gujarat BJP unit president Jitubhai Vaghani told reporters on Monday.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi also welcomed Abe by showing him how Ahmedabad had set the tone for a fruitful visit.

Tokyo hopes that by gaining a head start on rival exporters of rail technology such as China and Germany, its companies will be able to dominate business in one of the most promising markets for high-speed rail equipment. "Japan's openness to supply India with military technology also reflects the high level of confidence between the two countries". 81% of the project cost will be funded by Japan with a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1% annual interest, with a 15 year moratorium.

Abe and Modi are also expected to exchange views on North Korea, which carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 despite repeated warnings from the worldwide community, according to Japanese government officials.

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Despite work only just beginning, India is already looking to the future by reviewing other potential high-speed corridors: Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai, Delhi-Chandigarh, Mumbai-Nagpur and Delhi- Nagpur. Travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad on the high-speed rail link is estimated between two and three hours versus the travel time by train of seven to eight hours at present. The train project, which is expected to be commissioned by the year 2022, will have a dozen halts.

The details of the train are being worked out by officials from the ministry of Railways. The route will have 12 stations/stops and a few of them are: Mumbai, Virar, Vapi, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati.

A total of 468 km of the track will be elevated, and a 27 km tunnel between Thane and Virar will allow the trains to pass under the sea, as per JICA's Detailed Project Report (DPR).

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