New Delhi, Dec 12: Taking their robust bilateral ties to a new level, India and Japan today inked a number of pacts in key areas of defence and nuclear energy as well as building of first bullet train network between Mumbai- Ahmedabad at a cost of about Rs 98,000 crore.
The strategic pacts were inked after the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during which they also discussed international and regional issues of mutual importance including UN security reforms.
Addressing a joint press meet with Abe, Modi said, "No friend will matter more in realising India's economic dreams than Japan" while describing Abe as "a personal friend and a great champion of India-Japan partnership".
Referring to the pacts signed, Modi said, "No less historic is the decision to introduce High Speed Rail on Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector through Shinkansen known for speed, reliability, safety", noting that Abe's extraordinary package of approximately USD 12 billion and technical assistance, on very easy terms, for this project was greatly appreciated.
"The memorandum we signed on civil nuclear energy cooperation is more than just an agreement for commerce and clean energy. It is a shining symbol of a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of a peaceful and secure world," Modi added.
The bullet train network will link the India's financial hub Mumbai with Ahmedabad, the capital of Modi's home state, Gujarat.
Bullet train between the two cities will cut travel time on the 505 kilometre route from eight hours to around three. The approx. cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs 98,000 crore.
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The two sides also inked agreements - one concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology and another related to Security Measures for Protection of Classified Military Information. Terming defence pacts as "decisive steps in our security cooperation", Modi said they will deepen the defence relations and promote defence manufacturing in India.
"This builds on our decision to expand staff talks to all three wings of the Armed Forces and make Japan a partner in Malabar Naval Exercises," he added.
The two leaders also issued a joint statement on 'India and Japan Vision 2025: Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World'.
The statement said the two Prime Ministers welcomed the agreement reached between the two governments for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and confirmed that this agreement will be signed after the technical details are finalised including those relating to necessary internal procedures After the talks, Modi also announced that"Recognising our special relationship, India will extend 'visa on arrival' to all Japanese citizens from 1st March 2016." On his part, Abe said, "We have taken relationship to new level and buds have turned into blossoms".