Modi, Abe lay foundation stone of high-speed rail project

Ahmedabad, (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Wednesday laid the foundation stone of the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail project here.

The ground-breaking ceremony of India’s first bullet train project was performed at the Athletic Stadium near the Sabarmati railway station.

Modi and Abe pressed buttons to unveil plaques announcing the launch of India’s revolutionary rail project.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Union Railway Ministry have inked a memorandum of understanding for the 508-km corridor, with Japan to partially fund the project.

Accommodating 750 people, the bullet train is expected to reduce the travel time between the two cities from seven to roughly three hours.

The project, which is expected to be commissioned by 2022, will have a dozen halts. A 21-km-long tunnel will be dug between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai, seven km of which will be under the sea.

Later in the day, Modi and Abe will participate in the 12th Annual Bilateral Summit in state capital Gandhinagar.

This will be the fourth annual summit between Modi and Abe, where they are expected to review the progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

Abe arrived here on Wednesday on a two-day visit and was received by Modi at the airport who then took the visiting dignitary and his wife to the historic Sabarmati Ashram and a famous 16th century mosque before indulging in dinner diplomacy at a heritage property.

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