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Shinzo Abe's Gujarat visit highlights: A strong India in our interest, says Japan PM at bullet train launch event

Crowds lining up the streets cheered lustily as Modi and Abe waved at them. Akie, meanwhile, happily clicked photos with her mobile phone. People were seen waving Indian and Japanese national flags at several places.

FP Staff September 14, 2017 18:52:44 IST
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Shinzo Abe's Gujarat visit highlights: A strong India in our interest, says Japan PM at bullet train launch event

Highlights

14:36 (ist)

Bullet train project not economically viable, says Congress

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said in Lok Sabha that his party was not against any development project, but added that the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project was not economically viable. "We are not against any project, but what is the aim? This project is not economically viable," Kharge said.

"The air fare between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is Rs 2,000, and the bullet train fare would be between Rs 2,800 to Rs 5,000... Only if one lakh passengers travel in the train the project will be economically viable," said Kharge.

He added that Rs 60,000 crore was being spent on land acquisition, and the cost of the project which has been pitched at Rs 1,10,000 crore may further escalate during implementation.

14:33 (ist)

Modi-Abe hype suggests Gujarat ready to bullet train right now

The fact that the bullet train will be completed only by 2022-23 was lost on most of those present at Thursday's event.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis seemed so excited that he wanted Modi to inaugurate the train in Mumbai, even though he noted that the ground breaking was taking place in Gujarat. 

Gujaratis are known to lap it up with great awe when a foreign dignitary calls Narendra Modi a friend. In this case, Abe started his speech with 'Namaskar' and went on to say that he "loved Gujarat" and he would wish to "come here again with Narendra Modi in the bullet train, chatting and looking at the beautiful countryside from the window." He not only called Japan an old friend of India, remembering how he addressed the Indian Parliament ten years ago, but Modi a "dear friend and a world leader."

Read here

14:14 (ist)

The 15 MoUs signed at the India-Japan Summit meet:

-Disaster Risk Management

- Japanese Language Education in India between MEA and MOFA, Japan

- India Japan Act East Forum

- Arrangement between India Post and Japan Post on Administrative Instruction for the Implementation of Cool EMS service

- India-Japan Investment Promotion Road map between DIPP and METI

- MOC between METI and the State of Gujarat on ‘Japan-India special programme for Make In India’ in Mandal Bechraj-Khoraj in Gujarat

- Exchange of RoD on Civil Aviation Cooperation (Open Sky)

- Agreement for International joint exchange programme between interdisciplinary theoretical and mathematical sciences programme (iTHEMS), RIKEN and National Centres for Biological Sciences (Simons-NCBS)

- Joint Research Contract between National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST), Japan and Department of Biotechnology (DBT)

- Between DBT and National Institute of Advanced Science & Technology (AIST)

- International Academic and Sports Exchange between Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE)and Nippon Sports Science University, Japan (NSSU)

- International Academic and Sports Exchange between Sports Authority of India and Nippon Sports Science University, Japan (NSSU)

- Letter of intent between Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE) and University of Tsukuba, Japan

- Letter of intent between Sports Authority of India and University of Tsukuba, Japan

- Between RIS and IDE-JETRO for promotion of Cooperation in Research Related Activities

11:53 (ist)

Forget bullet train, real thrust of India-Japan relationship is on defence, China

Abe's visit to India for the 12th Indo-Japan Annual Summit comes at a particularly interesting time. Both nations are grappling with the trajectory of China's rise and struggling to keep pace with a geopolitical order thrown into turmoil over doubts about America's role as a global security guarantor. And as if the world needed a dash of more uncertainty, the tinpot from North Korea has decided that this is the right time to test a hydrogen bomb and threaten Donald Trump.

These rapid variables have forced India and Japan to snuggle closer, and both nations appear on the cusp of a major upgradation in bilateral ties. 

11:41 (ist)

Akie Abe's schedule for the day

The First Lady of Japan will begin her day by visiting the garden at Sabarmati riverfront. Later, she will be greeted by 18 children singing 'Kem chho, konnichiwa', on her visit to the Indo-Japan Friendship Association (IJFA). The song, penned by IJFA's Mukesh Patel, will be sung by students of  Zydus School of Excellence.

She will also address students at Gujarat University, where she will speak on climate change, and visit the Vocational Training Unit at Blind People's Association. On her visit to the Japan Information Centre, Akie will inaugurate the Origami Mahotsav and will be served a bullet train ice cream cake.

15:43 (ist)

India-Japan to Seal Amphibious Aircraft Deal During Shinzo Abe's Visit

According to News 18India is all set to buy the US 2i amphibious aircraft ShinMayWa from Japan in a record deal of 1.3 billion dollars, ironing out the differences over price, the two nations had. 

Japan is pushing for over-the-counter sale of the US-2 aircraft produced by ShinMaywa Industries Ltd, which has a range of about 4,500 km and is suitable for search-and-rescue operations. The US-2 is also capable of carrying sensitive communications equipment.

This aircraft usually has the capability of landing on choppy waters with waves of up to three metres, apart from having long-range civilian and military applications.

11:51 (ist)

BJP rehashes old rhetoric for polls

There is nothing new in Narendra Modi's two-day sojourn to his home state Gujarat with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe beginning Wednesday afternoon.

Modi has already had 10 meetings with Abe during the last three years and the bilateral India-Japan Annual Summit they are holding on Thursday in Gujarat capital Gandhinagar will be the fourth one between them.

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10:54 (ist)

Security tightened in Gujarat ahead of Abe's visit

Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, which will host a slew of programmes during the high-profile visit, are all decked up to welcome the foreign dignitary with streets shimmering in fluorescent lights, and hoardings and banners welcoming Abe dotting them.

Robust security arrangements have been put in place for the 12th Indo-Japan Summit and business meet where Japanese companies are likely to announce major investments in Gujarat.

10:34 (ist)

Modi-Abe to lay bullet train foundation: A rundown of Railways' most ambitious project

This isn't India's first attempt to ride on high speed trains. In 1989, the then railway minister Madhavrao Scindia proposed a high-speed connection from Delhi to Kanpur via Agra. The project was dropped later.

Nearly 30 years later, India took another step towards high-speed railway, when Gatiman Express from Delhi to Agra was flagged off. Running at 160 kilometers per hour, it is currently India's fastest train.

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10:26 (ist)

How BJP is using Japanese PM's trip to improve its chances in upcoming polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abe will take part in a road show in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. "This is for the first time in the country when our prime minister along with the prime minister of another country is doing a joint road show. The Japanese prime minister is landing here directly on 13 September. This makes the occasion more important, as he is visiting a state on the very first day of his India visit," Gujarat BJP unit president Jitubhai Vaghani had told reporters.

As Vaghani pointed, this will indeed be a rare occasion when the head of a State would skip New Delhi during their bilateral visit to India. This fact itself shows how important the Abe's visit will be for BJP as far as the upcoming Gujarat election is concerned.

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10:10 (ist)

Modi, Abe to look mull ways to develop 'multifaceted cooperation' between India-Japan

The summit takes place amid rising tension in the Far East after North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb, launched a ballistic missile over Japan, and the growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.

In a statement on Monday, the MEA said, "The two leaders will review the recent progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their special strategic and global partnership and will set its future direction." 

During his visit, Abe will attend the ground breaking ceremony of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed railway, a flagship programme of the India-Japan collaboration, marking the commencement of the project, also known as bullet train project.

10:06 (ist)

Narendra Modi looks forward to welcoming Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that India truly values its relationship with Japan and he looks forward to welcoming Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and hosting him in Gujarat for the fourth annual summit.

Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe will be on a two-day visit to India beginning Wednesday during which the two countries are expected to scale up their strategic cooperation.

The two leaders will hold the 12th India-Japan annual summit in Gujarat during the visit.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Sept 14, 2017 - 18:18 (IST)

Gujarat cherishes Japan's friendship for being the first partner in Vibrant Gujarat

Sept 14, 2017 - 18:17 (IST)

When I first visited Japan as CM of Gujarat, I had said that I want to see a mini Japan in Gujarat. Today that dream has come true: PM Modi

Sept 14, 2017 - 18:05 (IST)

China says India, Japan ties pose no 'grave threat' to Beijing

China has always been wary of growing proximity between India and Japan with whom it has territorial disputes. The state-run Chinese media has often been critical of fast developing ties between India and Japan.

An op-ed in the Global Times said "the India-Japan intimacy is more like a contrivance" and both were "are unlikely to challenge China without giving it a serious thought".

It said China would never follow India and Japan "who have somewhat lost themselves".

Sept 14, 2017 - 18:02 (IST)

Sept 14, 2017 - 17:51 (IST)

'Rudraksh' Varanasi Convention Centre, to be a cultural garland that Japan has accorded India: PM Modi

Sept 14, 2017 - 17:25 (IST)

Meanwhile.. Akie Abe visits the Vocational Training Unit at Blind People's Association (BPA)

Sept 14, 2017 - 16:57 (IST)

India, Japan sign agreement allowing airlines to fly unlimited flights between both countries

India and Japan on Thursday signed an agreement under which their airlines can operate an unlimited number of flights between the two countries. Japanese carriers All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, and Indian carriers Air India and Jet Airways are the airlines that fly between the two countries.

Sept 14, 2017 - 16:50 (IST)

'Security diamond' returns with a vengeance at India-Japan summit

On the second day of Shinzo Abe's two-day visit, a familiar theme returned to the agenda: Asia’s Democratic Security Diamond as coined by the Japanese prime minister back in 2012.

"I envisage a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific. I am prepared to invest, to the greatest possible extent, Japan’s capabilities in this security diamond," Abe had stated.

One of the motives of this proposed security diamond is to curb China's increasingly expansionist attitude in the South China Sea region -- something that directly affects Japan. Even if this eventually turns out to be a case of mere saber-rattling, Beijing appears to have already received the message. 

Read Full article here

Sept 14, 2017 - 16:44 (IST)

India, Japan ink 3 MoUs in science & technology sector

The first pact was signed for an international joint exchange programme between Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences (iTHEMS) at Japanese research institute RIKEN and the National Centre for Biological Sciences (Simons-NCBS), Bengaluru. The other two MoUs were inked between the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST), Japan - PTI

Sept 14, 2017 - 16:27 (IST)

'In a way it's free,' PM Modi on cost of bullet train

In an apparent move to silence the critics of the muti-million ambitious bullet train project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reasserted that India's gains from the project are much more than it's cost. 

“Ek prakar se muft mein (In a way it is free),” Modi said reminding that the project was made possible thanks to the Japanese loan of Rs 88,000 crore at an attractive 0.1 per cent interest to be repaid over 50 years,  The Indian Express reported. 

The streets of Ahmedabad came alive on Wednesday with song and dance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an 8-kilometre road show with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and his wife, the first such event by the Indian premier with a visiting head of government.

Modi held Abe in his characteristic bear hug as he, accompanied by wife Akie, landed at the Ahmedabad airport, reflecting the close bonding the two leaders have forged over several meetings.

Shinzo Abes Gujarat visit highlights A strong India in our interest says Japan PM at bullet train launch event

Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi at Sidi Saiyyed Mosque. Twitter/@PMOIndia

In a gesture symbolising the growing ties between the two large Asiatic economies, Abe wore kurta-pyjama and a royal blue Nehru jacket while his wife donned a red salwar-kameez ensemble as they accompanied Modi on the road show from the airport to the Sabarmati Ashram.

Sabarmati Ashram was set up by apostle of peace Mahatma Gandhi who spent considerable time of his life there. Song and dance performances were held by the roadside as the cavalcade rolled on, guarded by gun toting security personnel.

Crowds lining up the streets cheered lustily as Modi and Abe waved at them. Akie, meanwhile, happily clicked photos with her mobile phone. People were seen waving Indian and Japanese national flags at several places.

The road show, designed to showcase India's cultural diversity, saw artistes from several states performing on 28 stages erected by the roadside. They performed folk dances in traditional attires, while at several places along the way people in customary Japanese ensemble carrying parasols were also seen breaking into a jig to welcome the visiting dignitaries.

The road show, which began from Ahmedabad airport ended at the Sabarmati Ashram after traversing nearly eight kilometres. The visiting dignitaries and Modi paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the ashram where the Father of the Nation lived for  about 12 years.

"Love and Thanks", Abe wrote in a short message in Japanese on the visitors' register which was also signed by his wife.  The couple, dressed in traditional Indian attire, went inside 'Hriday Kunj', the small house where Gandhi lived, and had their photographs clicked with a 'charkha' (spinning  wheel), which was emblematic of India's quest for self- reliance during the freedom struggle.

Modi, Abe, and the Japanese first lady then paid floral tributes at Gandhi's statue. Like a courteous and indulgent host, Modi showed the couple around the ashram. The three later sat for some time by the serene Sabarmati Riverfront, developed by Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, chatting and laughing.

Modi showed them the statuettes of Gandhi's famous 'three monkeys' that symbolised his philosophy of peace and tolerance, with one of them covering its eyes, the second its mouth, and the third its ears in the gesture of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil".

The three wise monkeys, also called mystic apes, are said to have their origin in Japan in the 17th century. They spent nearly 25 minutes at the ashram before visiting an iconic medieval era mosque — Sidi Saiyyed — an architectural marvel located in the eastern part of the world heritage city.

The 16th Century mosque is known across the world for its intricate stone lattice work locally known as 'jalis'. The mosque is popularly called 'Sidi Saiyyed ni Jali'. Modi took the couple on a brief tour of the mosque and explained to them the importance of the heritage monument built in 1573.

The iconic 'jali' on the wall of the mosque is the official logo of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad became the first city in the country to be included in the World Heritage City list by UNESCO in July this year.

The leaders then headed to the nearby 'Agashiye' restaurant for dinner in the old city area. The restaurant is known for its elegance and kosher Gujarati cuisine.

The two leaders will get down to business today when they jointly lay the foundation stone for the high-speed train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai which is expected to be completed by 2022. The train would cover the distance of over 500 kilometres in around two hours. Japan has extended a soft loan for the ambitious project conceptualised by Modi.

The two leaders will hold the 12th Indo-Japan annual Summit meeting at Gandhinagar after which agreements will be exchanged. Later, an India-Japan business plenary meeting will be held.

Fifteen agreements will be signed for investments in Gujarat during the visit of the Japanese prime minister, Gujarat chief secretary JN Singh had said on Wednesday. Abe's spouse will be visiting a number of places including NGO Blind People's Association. Modi had hosted Chinese president Xi Jinping and his wife in Ahmedabad in his home state Gujarat in September 2014.

Abe's visit comes amid rising tensions in the Far East where North Korea recently launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan. Growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea is also a cause of concern in the region and could come up for discussion between the two leaders.

With inputs from agencies

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