Japan and India signed a deal Saturday for $12 billion to build the latter’s first high-speed-train network as both countries also established closer ties in terms of defense and civil nuclear cooperation. The deal, which was signed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s three-day visit to India, comes amid China’s rise as the strongest economy in Asia.
The countries also agreed to cooperate on peaceful use of nuclear energy, the final deal for which will be signed after the technical details are confirmed, the Associated Press reported. Abe described the agreements as a new era of cooperation between the nations. The high-speed train is to run between the western financial hub of Mumbai and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the native state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"This enterprise will launch a revolution in Indian railways and speed up India's journey into the future. It will become an engine of economic transformation in India," Modi said in a speech, according to Reuters.
"No friend will matter more in realizing India’s economic dreams than Japan. We have made enormous progress in economic cooperation as also in our regional partnership and security cooperation," Modi said, according to the Indian Express, a local newspaper.
Under the defense deals, both the countries announced that they will share equipment, technology and military information, Reuters reported. However, a $1.1 billion deal for the sale of Japan’s US-2 amphibious aircraft, talks for which have been ongoing for 2 years, was not concluded yet. Japan lifted a ban on defense equipment export in 2014.
"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 peaceful and secure world," Modi said, during his speech, adding: "I know the significance of this decision for Japan and I assure you that India deeply respects that decision and will honor our shared commitment.”
Abe said, according to local newspaper Times of India, "We have taken relationship to a new level," adding: "With a view to supporting growth of India, both public and private sector of Japan will act in unison."