Kashi-Kyoto bhai, bhai is the new motto as India, Japan sign pacts worth over $35 bn

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi take part in the evening aarti on the banks of Ganga at Varanasi on Saturday.

AFP
Seven years from now, passengers travelling between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will cover the 505 km in two-and half hours, as India and Japan on Saturday clinched an agreement to build the first bullet train network in the country in this stretch for Rs 98,000 crore. Visiting Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, supervised the signing of a number of pacts, including the civil nuclear energy agreement. Foreign secretary S Jaishankar said projects worth more than $35 billion have been identified for Japanese investments. Referring to the pacts signed, Modi said: “No less historic is the decision to introduce High-Speed Rail on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector through Shinkansen, known for speed, reliability and safety”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> He praised Abe’s extraordinary package of approximately $12 billion and technical assistance on very easy terms. Later, Jaishankar said the renewed cost has been pegged at $15 billion. He said Japan will provide 80% funds for the project at 0.1% interest rate for 50 years. This means India will have to pay approximately Rs 200 crore annually as interest to Japan, once the project is ready. Recalling his last visit to the country, Modi said Japan committed an investment of $35 billion. “The figure had surprised many at that time, but today, within a short time span, unimaginable progress had been made, and the contours of this investment were beginning to get visible on the ground,” he said. The two sides also inked other agreements — one on transfer of defence equipment and technology and another on security measures for protection of classified military information. Terming the defence pacts as “decisive steps in our security cooperation”, Modi said they will deepen the defence relations and promote defence manufacturing in India. “This builds on our decision to expand staff talks to all three wings of the Armed Forces and make Japan a partner in Malabar Naval Exercises,” he added. The two leaders also issued a joint statement on ‘India and Japan Vision 2025.’ Modi also announced ‘visa on arrival’ to Japanese citizens from March 1, 2016.” Without refering to China, Modi said, India and Japan will work together in East Asia Summit to promote an inclusive, balanced and open regional architecture and maritime security in the region. Among the international issues, Modi and Abe discussed North Korea’s contentious nuclear programme and expressed concern over that country’s continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, including its uranium enrichment activities. Later, the two prime ministers flew to Varanasi, where Abe witnessed a Ganga Aarti. Varanasi and Kyoto municipal corporations also signed a twin-city agreement, called Kashi-Kyoto agreement. Under the defence deals, the two sides will share technology, equipment and military information. But the long-awaited sale of Japanese aircraft in a deal worth about $1.1 billion was not concluded. In the absence of a nuclear deal with Japan, US firms the GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse are not able to conclude commitments in India, as they have now Japanese owners. While both sides agreed to work towards cooperation in civil-nuclear technology, they stopped short of signing an agreement, citing outstanding technical and legal differences.India and Japan have been negotiating a nuclear energy deal since Japan’s ally, the US, opened the way for nuclear commerce with India despite its atomic bomb programme and shunning of the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
On the agenda $15 billion —— Bullet train $12 billion ——Make in India programme $5 billion —Official Development Aid $5.5 billion —Chennai-Bangalore dedicated freight corridor Indian Air Force and Japan Air Self Defence Force to hold inaugural Talks in 2016 Signing of protocol amending the convention for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. Agreement on preparatory survey regarding Mumbai Trans Harbour Link. Survey on Tuticorin Outer Harbour expected to commence early next year. Smart Community Projects in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor

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Shinzo Abe’s bullet train brings nuke, defence tech to India