Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Thursday laid the foundation stone of the 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmadabad High-Speed Rail in Ahmadabad.
Here are the live updates from the bullet train foundation laying event:
11:20 am: Modi and Abe leave the venue
11:03 am: "On 75 years on India's independence, around the year 2022-23, I wish that both PM Shinzo Abe and I inaugurate the BulletTrain," Modi said.
11:00 am: Modi calls Japan as India's strong friend
10:58 am: PM calls for high speed connectivity.
10:57 am: PM Modi says bullet train project will boost employment.
10:56 am: I would like to state that India-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global: PM
10:55 am: "If technology is used to empower the poor we can win the fight against poverty," Modi said.
10:50 am: "Now next generation growth will happen at places where there are high speed corridors," the PM said.
10:45 am: "Transport system is of prime importance for a nation's development," Modi said.
10:40 am: "Thank my friend Shinzo Abe, he took personal interest and assured that there should be no glitches in the project," says PM Modi
10:30 am: PM Modi begins address
10:25 am: Abe extends support to 'Make in India'.
10:22 am: Abe says India and Japan are key partners, adding, "Dear friend PM Modi is a far sighted leader,he made a decision of making New India and chose Japan as partner, we completely support it."
10:20 am: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe starts his address with "Namaskar"
10:15 am: India's first high speed rail project inaugurated by PM Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad.
10:12 am: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, "Welcome Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and express gratitude towards Japan. Entire Gujarat is experiencing immense joy today."
10:10 am: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis equates foundation laying of the bullet train to laying foundation of 'New India'.
10:05 am: Railway Minister Piyush Goel says bullet train will be a will be a symbol of brotherhood between people of India and Japan.
9:55 am: PM Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe arrive at the stage for inauguration of High Speed Rail from Mumbai to Ahmedabad
9:45 am: PM Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe inspect a model of the high speed rail from Mumbai to Ahmedabad
9:40 am: Stage set for foundation-laying ceremony of bullet train
The bullet train will significantly reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The travel time will be reduced from eight hours to anywhere between two-three hours depending on the number of stations. It is expected to run at an average speed of 250 km per hour, with a top speed of around 320 km per hour.
On the Ahmedabad-Mumbai route, 12 stations have been proposed: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. Of the 508-km stretch, 92 per cent of the route will be elevated, six percent through a tunnel and the rest on the ground. The high-speed train will pass through the country's longest tunnel of 21 km, of which seven km will be under the sea, said an NDTV report.
India and Japan will also sign several agreements on strategic, financial and development cooperation. The two sides are also likely to agree on bolstering bilateral defense and maritime security cooperation.
Abe will also seek India's support for new U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution that imposes restrictions on exports of crude oil and petroleum products to North Korea. The MoUs will be signed in sectors like engineering and automobile, infrastructure, IT and skill development.
According to reports, Abe will also push Modi for the sale of the US 2i amphibious aircraft ShinMayWa from Japan. The is said to be worth 1.3 billion dollars and the two countries had differences over the price.
Abe arrived in Ahmedabad on Wednesday for a two-day India visit. Abe was received at the airport by PM Modi, who shares a good rapport with his Japanese counterpart.
The visit, which is Abe's first since December 2015, is part of an agreement between the leaders to make alternating bilateral visits. Modi visited Japan in November last year.