New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe lay the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai on Thursday morning.
The 534-km Rs1 trillion high-speed rail project that will operate trains with average speeds of 200-250kmph will be a game-changer in terms of inter-urban connectivity and establish India as a market for such technologies, said G. Raghuram, director of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
The bullet train, which has a capacity to accommodate 750 people, is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from seven to three hours, PTI reported earlier. A sum of around Rs1.10 trillion will be spent on the project that is being partially funded by Japan. The target for its completion is December 2023, though officials say there are 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, the PTI report added.
Abe, who arrived in Gujarat’s commercial capital Ahmedabad on Wednesday, is in India for the 12th India-Japan annual summit.
After a day filled with gestures of friendship and bonhomie underlining the warmth in ties between India and Japan, the prime ministers of the two countries are to sit down for formal talks on Thursday and discuss ways to strengthen the India-Japan partnership both in the bilateral context and beyond.
Apart from the marque projects such as the bullet train, and the western dedicated freight corridor, Japan has also joined hands with India to aggressively develop infrastructure projects in India’s north-eastern states as part of the strategy to contain China.