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Narendra Modi, Abe to lay foundation stone bullet train

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone for the proposed Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-Speed Rail Network, commonly known as the bullet train, the Gujarat city on Thursday.

Abe, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat, arrived in Ahmedabad with his wife Akie on Wednesday.

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.

A sum of around Rs 1.10 lakh crore 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. A 21-km-long tunnel will be dug between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai, of which 7 km will be under water.

The entire line will be at an elevation of around 20 m which will reduce land acquisition.

After the laying of the foundation stone, an investment summit will also be held between the Indian side and a Japanese delegation comprising representatives from Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Later on Thursday, Modi and Abe will hold annual Indo-Japan summit. Boosting cooperation in defence and security is likely to be a major focus area when they hold the summit.

Also read: With China in mind, Modi, Abe to delve on boosting defence ties

On Wednesday, Modi, Abe and Akie set-off on an 8-km road show in an open-roof jeep for the Sabarmati Ashram where apostle of peace Mahatma Gandhi spent considerable time of his life.

Abe, who was in a formal suit when he arrived at the Ahmedabad airport, wore kurta-pyjama and a blue Nehru jacket, while his wife donned red salwar-kameez and a white stole to Sabarmati Ashram.

At the Sabarmati Ashram set up by Mahatma Gandhi, Abe and his wife paid homage to the Father of the Nation.

The road show, designed to showcase India’s cultural diversity, saw artistes from several states performing on 28 stages erected by the roadside.

It was for the first time that Modi held a joint road show with a visiting head of government of a foreign country, reflecting the close bonding he shares with Abe.

They later visited the iconic Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and had dinner at ‘Agashiye’ restaurant located near the mosque.

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