The country’s first bullet train project was flagged off by Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad today. At the launch, Modi pitched for the need of an integrated transport system in India. He thanked Abe for the “big gift” of bullet trains to India, and for showing “personal interest” in making the project a reality.
Abe arrived in Ahmedabad on Wednesday for a two-day visit. Modi, breaking protocol, received the Japanese Prime Minister at the airport. Yesterday’s agenda included an 8-km mega roadshow, visit to Sabarmati Ashram and Sidi Saiyyed Ki Jaali mosque.
Catch all the live updates with The Quint.
- PM Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe lay the foundation stone for the bullet train in Ahmedabad
- Japan has loaned Rs 88,000 crore at an interest rate of 0.1% for 50 years to India
- Abe arrived in Ahmadabad on Wednesday for 12th India-Japan Annual Summit
- The summit takes place amid rising tension in the Far East
- 15 agreements are expected to be signed between Japanese firms and GIDC
'Election Bullet Train' Launched by Modi to Ride out Gujarat Polls: Cong
The Congress dubbed the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed express an "election bullet train" and said its launch was timed keeping in mind the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls.
The opposition party said the foundation stone laying followed a set pattern of announcing packages and big-ticket projects by the Modi government ahead of every state election.
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with delaying the project, conceived by the erstwhile UPA government, for three-and-a-half years, thus making it "economically unviable".
Congress spokesperson RPN Singh alleged that the BJP government was ignoring railway safety, even though 259 passengers have been killed and 973 injured in 29 major railway accidents since the Modi dispensation assumed office.
Modi, Abe at India-Japan Annual Summit
PM Modi and Japan's PM Shinzo Abe at India-Japan Annual Summit.
When I first visited Japan as the CM of Gujarat, I had said that I want to see a mini Japan in Gujarat. Today that dream has come true... Four locations have been finalised for development of Japanese Industrial Townships in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu...Gujarat’s Industry and Government still cherish the fact that Japan became 1st partner country in Vibrant Gujarat event.PM Modi
Open Sky Agreement Signed
India and Japan signed an agreement under which their airlines can operate an unlimited number of flights between the two countries.
Last year India signed an open sky agreement with Greece, Jamaica, Guyana, Czech Republic, Finland, Spain and Sri Lanka.
India also signed a bilateral open sky agreement with the US in 2005.
Farmers Protest Fearing Land Acquisition
A group of farmers from Boisar in Palghar district protested against the bullet train project fearing acquisition of their lands.
During the protest, which was jointly organised by Shetkari Sangarsha Samiti and Advasi Ekta Parisahd, the protesters waved black flags and raised slogans against the project.
Kaluram Dodhade of Bhoomi Sena, who took part in the protest, said:
The protesters also alleged that the BJP-led government was going ahead with the project without taking the farmers into consideration.
Palghar DSP Majunath Shinge said, "It was a symbolic protest and there was no law and order situation." When contacted, Palghar district collector Prashant Narnavre said the agitation was carried out peaceful.
Rohingya Issue Not Discussed
Foreign Ministry spokesperson S Jaishankar said that in PM Modi and Shinzo Abe’s talks, the Rohingya issue did not come up for any specific discussion but was only mentioned in passing.
Jaishankar also said that a Japan-India Act East Forum was agreed upon.
Modi, Abe Inaugurate Bullet Train Research Institute
PM Modi and Shinzo Abe inaugurated the Bullet Train Research Institute in Vadodara, via video conferencing.
Modi, Abe Condemn North Korea's Nuke Frenzy
PM Modi and Shinzo Abe condemned North Korea’s continuous nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and related developments.
The two leaders also called on Pakistan to bring to justice perpetrators of terror attacks including 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot attacks.
They added that they look forward to convening the 5th India-Japan consultation on terrorism and to strengthen cooperation against terror threats from groups including Al-Qaida, ISIS, JeM, LeT and their affiliates.
Modi, Abe Issue Joint Press Statement
Beginning his address with ‘Konichiwa’, PM Modi welcomed Shinzo Abe and the Japanese delegation to India.
Emphasising on the bullet train project that was launched earlier in the day, Modi said that the partnership between Japan and India had begun a new chapter of green energy and fighting climate change.
The bi-lateral talks held between the delegations from both countries resulted in the signing of a number of MoUs, focusing primarily on defence and ‘Make in India’.
Backing Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ programme, Abe said Japan would increase its investment in India.
Modi, Abe Reach Mahatma Mandir for India-Japan Annual Summit
PM Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe reached the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, where the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit is being held.
The two leaders are expected to hold delegation-level talks at the meet. They will also issue a joint press statement later in the day.
Bullet Train Not a Common Man's Dream: Shiv Sena
Slamming the bullet train project, NDA ally Shiv Sena said the project was not a dream of the common man but that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana', sought to know if the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed train project really fits into the needs of the country.
"We are getting a bullet train without asking for it. We do not know exactly which problem will this problem solve," the Sena said.
(Former Prime Minister) Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru laid the foundation of several projects, from Bhakra Nangal to Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, to ensure the country advances in technology and science. All these projects were needed for the nation. Does this bullet train fit into the needs of the country?
Out of the estimated Rs 1,08,000 crore cost of the project, at least Rs 30,000 crore would have to be shelled out by the Maharashtra government, it said.
Modi, Abe visit Dandi Kutir in Gandhinagar
After laying the foundation stone of India’s first bullet train project, PM Modi and Shinzo Abe proceeded to visit Dandi Kutir, a museum dedicated to the life of Mahatma Gandhi, in Gandhinagar.
How, When, What of India's First Bullet Train
- The bullet train has a capacity to accommodate 750 people
- It is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from seven to three hours
- A sum of around Rs 1.10 lakh crore will be spent on the project, of which up to 80 percent is being funded by Japan
- The loan will have to be repaid by India in 50 years, with an interest rate of 0.1 percent
- The target for its completion is December 2023
- There are, however, 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
- A 21-km-long tunnel will be dug between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai, of which 7 km will be under water
- The entire line will be at an elevation of around 20 m, reducing land acquisition
PM Modi Welcomes 'New India'
“I congratulate India on gaining its first bullet train project,” said Modi. He said that the project will bring employment and speed, terming it a ‘human-friendly and eco-friendly’ project.
“I thank my friend Shinzo Abe. He took personal interest and assured that there should be no glitch in the project,” said PM Modi. “Change is approaching us rapidly, and our focus should be on high-speed connectivity.”
Terming the project a “big gift” from Japan, he said, “India now has a friend who has loaned her Rs 88,000 crore at interest of 0.1 percent”.
"I Am Glad to Be Part of This Project": Shinzo Abe
Opening his address with a ‘Namaskar’, Abe expressed his gratitude at being a part of this ambitious project.
Terming it a historic day, Abe said that the bullet train project will mark the brotherhood between the India and Japanese community. Abe also praised Modi, and said that he was building a new India.
“I like Gujarat a lot, and I will try and do whatever I can for the best of my dear India and Gujarat. Dhanyawad,” said Abe.
Piyush Goyal, Devendra Fadnavis at the Inauguration
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal delivered his first address during the laying of the foundation stone of the bullet rail service. He said that although there is speculation about this hi-tech rail service, it will benefit the country.
30 years back, Maruti Suzuki partnership had brought development to India. Many people criticised the introduction of Rajdhani, but now it is the train everyone wants to travel in. Mobile phone used to be an elite object with people paying Rs 16 per minute. Now phones are coming really cheap these days.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who took the podium next, said:
We’re lucky Maharashtra is one of the first states that has been chosen for this project. Not only our state but also the entire country will benefit from the GDP earnings. On that note I want to thank the Japanese PM, because he helped us and also thank PM Modi because he not only ensured us Japanese help, but he’s helped in building trans-harbour-link and metro rail. I believe that we will complete the project on time and I invite you to board the train to Mumbai when you inaugurate this rail.
First Lady of Japan to Visit Blind People's Association
Japan’s First Lady Akie Abe is to visit the Blind People’s Association in Ahmedabad today.
Modi-Abe Visit 16th Century Mosque
Modi and Abe, along with his wife Akie Abe, visited Sidi Saiyyid Ni Jaali, the famous 16th century mosque in Ahmedabad.
Modi, Abe Reach Sabarmati Ashram
Modi and Abe arrived at the Sabarmati Ashram on Wednesday, following the 8-km-long roadshow. The trio paid their respects to Mahatma Gandhi at the ashram.
Modi, Abe Start Roadshow
Modi and Abe began their 8-km-long road show to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. The Japanese leader and his counterpart changed into Indian attire for the roadshow.
PM Modi Receives Abe With A Hug
Prime Minister Narendra Modi received his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe with a hug, on his arrival at Ahmedabad.
PM Modi Thanks Abe For 'Kind Words'
Before receiving Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Ahmadabad, PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter to thank his Japanese counterpart for his “kind words” on the robust partnership between the two countries.
Japanese PM Arrives in Ahmedabad
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe arrived in Ahmedabad on Wednesday for the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit.
PM Modi Arrives in Ahmedabad
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Ahmedabad to receive his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, who is scheduled to arrive at 3.30 pm.
What's on Shinzo Abe's Platter?
A Gujarati platter awaits Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, who will begin their two-day visit to India starting Wednesday. According to Hindustan Times, the spread will have more than 30 items on offer, including khaman dhokla, raspatra and gota fritters, rice khichdi, kadhi and much more.
The banquet will be held at Agashiye, a terrace restaurant at the House of Mangaldas Heritage Hotel in the city. The banquet will be attended by the leaders post their visit to the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque.
Ahmedabad Decked up Ahead of Abe's Visit
Ahmedabad, which is all set to receive Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, who will arrive in the city for the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit.
Modi tweeted out some pictures from the city ahead of Abe’s visit.
Modi Tweets in Japanese Ahead of Abe's Visit
Preparing to receive his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India truly values its ties with Japan and that he looked forward to further boost the bilateral relations in a wide range of areas.
Tweeting in Japanese and English, he said,
15 Japanese Firms to Invest in Gujarat
As many as 15 Japanese companies are keen to invest in Gujarat and will be signing agreements with the state government during the 12th Indo- Japanese annual summit in Gandhinagar on September 14, according to officials. According to Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation vice-president and managing director D Thara, of the total 17-18 agreements to be signed during the summit, 15 will be between Japanese firms and the GIDC.
9,000 Cops to Secure Strategic Locations During PM Abe's Visit
Over 9,000 police personnel will fan across strategic locations in the city to secure it for the two-day visit of Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Over 2,000 policemen will be deployed in the state capital to guard them and other dignitaries.
According to Balram Meena, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Control Room, around 70 per cent of the city's police force will be deployed as part of the security arrangements on Wednesday.
"To provide enhanced security, we will also deploy 12 companies of the state reserve police (SRP), bomb squad and quick Response teams. We have also sent a request to send a team of NSG commandos. They may also join us," Meena said.
Roadshow in Ahmedabad
PM Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe will take part in a roadshow in Ahmedabad in Gujarat on September 13 when the latter begins his visit. The eight-km-long roadshow would start from the Ahmedabad airport and culminate at the Sabarmati Ashram, according to the BJP.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's standing committee chairman Pravin Patel said a large number of people, including singing troupes who will be performing at 28 different locations along the route, will greet Modi and Abe.
"On the entire route of the the roadshow, which will also pass from Sabarmati Riverfront, we have erected 28 small stages where dancers from 28 different states, all dressed in their traditional attire, would showcase their performance when these leaders pass," said Patel.
The two leaders are also expected to visit the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, also known as Siddi Sayyaid ki Jaali, in Ahmedabad. They will also visit Dandi Kutir, the museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, at the Mahatma Mandir.
First Lady of Japan To Attend Multiple Programmes in Ahmedabad
First lady of Japan Akie Abe is slated to interact with people, and also deliver a lecture on climate change at the Gujarat University. She will visit Ahmedabad Management Association, Blind's People Association, the city's heritage Calico Museum of Textiles and tour the Sabarmati riverfront. The first lady will also visit the vocational training unit of the Blind People's Association- an NGO, and see the work being done by the inmates.
Akie Abe is going to inaugurate 'Origami Mahotsav,' being organised by the Japan Information and Study Centre at the Ahmedabad Management Association to celebrate five decades of Japan’s bond with Gujrat.
Modi, Abe to Meet for Annual Summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will look at ways to enhance "multifaceted" relations between the two countries and carry forward their special strategic and global partnership when they meet for the annual Summit on Wednesday.
The summit takes place amid rising tension in the Far East after North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb, launched a ballistic missile over Japan, and the growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.
This will be the fourth annual summit between Modi and Abe, during which the focus of talks is expected to be on trade, defence and infrastructure.
(With PTI and ANI inputs)