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The punctuality and zero-accident record of the ultra-efficient Shinkansen is a source of great pride for Japan.The train has a top speed of up to 350 kilometres an hour - more than double the maximum speed of the fastest trains operating in India. The 508 km high-speed rail will link Mumbai and Gujarat.

To get electoral benefit from the project, Mr Modi organised a grand ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the bullet train project in Ahmedabad and also held a road show with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan will fund 81 per cent of the outlay, almost 88 billion rupees, in soft loans, at an interest rate of 0.1 per cent.

Mr Modi has pledged to invest billions of dollars to modernise India's creaking railway system that remains the main form of travel for millions.

Modi recently replaced his railway minister after a series of derailments, including one last month which killed at least 23 passengers in the northern Uttar Pradesh state.

The joint statement issued after the summit talks of more cooperation in India Pacific with and with both leaders reinforcing efforts to "align Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy with India's Act East Policy, including through enhancing maritime security cooperation, improving connectivity in the wider Indo-Pacific region, strengthening cooperation with ASEAN", the joint statement reads. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, speaking to the press after the meeting says India and Japan have agreed to explore cooperation and exchanges between Indian Army and Japan's Ground Self Defence Force and Indian Air Force and Japanese Air Defense. "We have just signed a joint statement which will serve as a milestone to open a new era for Japan-India relationship. based on that we will strongly promote Japan-India special strategic and global partnership to drive peace and prosperity for Indo-Pacific region and the whole world", he said.

India and Japan also underlined the importance of all countries ensuring the development and use of connectivity infrastructure in an open, transparent and non-exclusive manner based on worldwide standards and responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment.

India and Japan signed a landmark civil nuclear agreement in Tokyo previous year but their trade at $15 billion is only a quarter of India's trade with China.

The two countries also stressed the importance of holding accountable all countries that have supported North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, a reference to China.

Abe's two-day visit to Ahmadabad comes ahead of Modi's 67th birthday on Sunday. It further recommends the Indian intelligentsia to not to exaggerate the geopolitical significance of closer India-Japan ties. In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the city in Gujarat where Modi was once the Chief Minister.


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