Japanese PM in Gujarat Highlights: Confident that strong India, Japan will be a stabilising factor in Asia and world, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone of the 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, Shinkansen, in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe shake hands after signing agreements between the two countries on Thursday.(Twitter/Raveesh)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe shake hands after signing agreements between the two countries on Thursday.(Twitter/Raveesh)
Updated on Sep 14, 2017 06:51 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByJayanth Jacob and Hiral Dave

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Thursday laid the foundation of India’s first high speed rail project, linking country’s commercial capital Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the main city in Modi’s home state Gujarat.

The two countries also inked 15 agreements, including one to give a fillip to India’s Act East policy by enhancing connectivity and developmental projects in India’s northeast, and for more flights between the two countries.

Modi and Abe addressed the India-Japan Business Plenary held at the town’s Mahatma Mandir centre.

This was the fourth summit meeting between Modi and Abe. The two leaders visited the Sabarmati Ashram on Wednesday after Abe’s arrival in Gujarat in the afternoon. The Japanese Prime Minister was on a two-day visit to Gujarat.

Here are the highlights:

9:35 pm: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to emplane for Tokyo.

5: 35 pm:

5: 20 pm: With the strength of our friendship & trust, I invite more and more Japanese people and companies to come, live and work in India, says PM Modi as he concludes his speech.

5:16 pm: PM Modi thanks Shinzo Abe and Japan for being a ‘perfect partner’ in mutual and global pursuit.

5: 16 pm: I have been saying that 21st Century is Asia’s century. I’ve also been saying India and Japan will play a major role in Asia’s emergence: PM Modi.

He says the growing convergence between Japan and India on strategic and economic issues has capacity to stimulate the global economy: PM Modi.

5: 15 pm: PM Modi says India and Japan are ancient civilisations and vibrant democracies. “We know how to distribute the fruits of progress and prosperity to the common man,” says Modi.

5:12 pm: Japan can benefit tremendously with size and scale of our potential and skilled hands that India offers: PM Modi on India-Japan business relations.

5:11 pm: The project of Varanasi convention centre is a symbol of cultural co-operation of Kyoto and Varanasi. I named the project as a ‘rudrakh’- the symbol of love and ‘prasad’ of Lord Shiva to humanity. This ‘rudrakh will be a garland of love of Japan to Varanasi. It will also be a tribute to our shared Buddhist heritage: PM Narendra Modi.

5:11 pm: PM Modi says 4 locations have been finalized for development of Japanese Industrial Townships in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu.

He says the foundation has been laid for production of Lithium batteries for electric mobility.

5:10 pm: Gujarat’s industry and government still cherish the fact that Japan became 1st partner country in Vibrant Gujarat event: PM Narendra Modi.

5: 06 pm: My personal engagement with Japan decade old. Wanted to see mini Japan here. That dream has come true: Narendra Modi at India-Japan Annual Summit.

5: 02 pm: Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe addresses the India-Japan Annual Summit.

4:03 pm: Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe arrive at the India-Japan Business Plenary in Gandhinagar.

4:02 pm: PM Modi, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki visit the Suzuki exhibition booth at Mahatma Mandir Centre in Gandhinagar.

4: 00 pm: Modi and Abe check the bullet train simulator.

3:42 pm: PM Narendra Modi and Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe inaugurate Bullet Train Research Institute in Vadodara via video conferencing.

3:32pm: Rohingya issue did not come up for any specific discussion, it came only as a passing mention: S Jaishankar on India-Japan talks.

3:30pm: Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav says the Narendra Modi government should have launched the bullet train project for New Delhi-Kolkata route.

3:20pm: Jaishankar says another issue which came up during India-Japan discussions was terrorism. “Halting cross-border movement of terrorists was agreed upon. The two sides specifically agreed to cooperate in dealing with threats from al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terrorist groups.”

3:15pm: “There were a lot of discussions on North Korea. Japan underlined their concerns and it was a complete meeting of minds. We will fully abide by the UNSC resolutions passed over North Korea issue,” the foreign secretary says. “We agreed to hold the parties accountable who supported North Korea’s nuclear programmes.”

3:12pm: We agreed to explore co-operation and exchanges between our army and ground self-defence forces and Air Force and Japan’s Air Defence Force: S Jaishnakar

3:11pm: Japan will provide more help in infrastructure development of North East policy, says Jaishankar.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar addressing the media at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar. (AIR/Twitter)
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar addressing the media at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar. (AIR/Twitter)

3:10pm: Japan shares most of Indian concerns on China’s one-road one-belt policy: Foreign secretary on India-Japan relations.

3:09pm: The two countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in defence and economic sectors. “They discussed technology and equipment collaboration in defence sector,” says Jaishankar.

3:07pm: Free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region a thrust area of the joint statement: Foreign secretary.

3:05pm: “The welcome to Abe was unique in many ways... The two PMs had discussions over dinner last night,” foreign secretary S Jaishankar says.

2.45pm: Foreign secretary S Jaishankar to brief media.

2.33pm: PM Modi and PM Abe look forward to convening 5th Japan-India consultation on terrorism and to strengthen cooperation against terrorists threats from groups, incuding Al Qaida, ISIS, JeM, LeT and their affiliates.

2.30pm: PM Modi and PM Abe call for Pakistan to bring to justice perpetrators of terror attacks, including 2008 and 2016 Pathankot attacks.

2:00pm: PMs Modi and Abe condemned North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

1:57pm: Japanese PM says Japan Promotion Board office set up in Gujarat to increase investment.

1:55pm: India, Japan and the US conducted joint maritime exercise in Malabar for the first time, based on strong ties of trust between PM Modi and President Donald Trump, says Abe.

1:53pm: “We appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality. Dhanyawaad,” says Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.

1:52pm: India Post and Japan Post will start a cool box service for Japanese living in India so that they can order their favourite food from Japan, says Modi.

1:50pm: I urge Japanese business community to open maximum number of Japanese restaurant chains in India: PM Modi


One of the agreements: To strengthen strategic collaboration, joint research programme and exchanges between University of Tsukuba, Japan and Sports Authority of India.

1:43pm: I heartily welcome the agreements signed today, they will strengthen India-Japan partnership: PM Modi.

Delegation-level talks between India and Japan. (Twitter/MEA India)
Delegation-level talks between India and Japan. (Twitter/MEA India)

1:42pm: Japan is the third largest investor in India. In 2016-17 Japan invested 4.7 billion dollars in India, which is 80% higher than last year: Modi

1:41pm: It’s a pleasure to welcome PM Abe on Indian soil, says Modi.

1:40pm: Modi begins his address to the press with Japanese greeting Konnichiwa, good afternoon.

One of the agreements: Indian and Japanese carriers can now mount unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other’s countries.

1:39pm: Altogether, 15 agreements signed between the two countries, including in the field of disaster risk reduction, Japanese language education in India, accelerate Japanese investments and in joint research, among others.

1:38pm: PM Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe witness exchange of agreements between the two nations.

1:30pm: A Chinese daily has said that close ties between New Delhi and Tokyo posed no grave threat to Beijing. It says China would never follow India and Japan “who have somewhat lost themselves”.

1:18pm: First Lady of Japan Akie visits Blind People’s Association at Vastrapur in Ahmedabad.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. (HT)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. (HT)

12:40pm: Delegation-level talks between India and Japan begin at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.



11:45am: Modi and Abe visit Dandi Kutir in Gandhinagar. It is India’s largest and only museum built on the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi: ANI

11:30am: Shiv Sena calls Rs 1.08 lakh crore train project unnecessary and a dream for the wealthy. “The Prime Minister’s dream is not of the common man, but for the interest of the wealthy and the business class,” the party says in an editorial.

11:15am: Modi and Abe also laid the foundation stone for the Vadodara High Speed training institute.

10:59am: The bullet train will depart from ‘aamru’ Ahmedabad to ‘aamchi’ Mumbai. We want the common man in our country to use high-end technology:PM

10:58am: Ground-breaking of high speed rail has happened in the 70th year of India’s Independence... I hope that we see the service operational on the 75th anniversary, says Modi.

10:55am: Our railway network is so huge that the number of people travelling in trains every week in India is equal to Japan’s total population: PM

10:50am: The Gujaratis have found a friend in Japan which has given Rs 88,000 crore at 0.1 % interest rate. This is a big deal for Gujaratis who celebrate even 0.5 % slash in interest rate: Modi

10:45am: High-speed corridor will emerge as single economic zone, says Modi.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ground breaking ceremony for high-speed rail project in Ahmedabad. (AP)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ground breaking ceremony for high-speed rail project in Ahmedabad. (AP)

10:40am: Next generation growth will happen where there are high-speed corridors, says PM Modi.

10:35am: High-speed rail project is a sign of deepening ties between the two nations, says Modi.

10:33am: PM Modi takes the stage to address the crowd in Hindi and Gujarati, welcomes Japanese counterpart to India.

10:32am: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ends his address at Sabarmati ground with ‘Dhanyavad’.

10:31am: On my next visit I hope to take a ride on the high-speed rail Shinkansen with PM Modi, says Japanese Prime Minister.

10:30am: Japan’s ‘JA’ and India’s ‘I’ when combined becomes ‘Jai’ in Hindi: Abe


10:26am: PM Modi is a far sighted leader. He made a decision of making New India and chose Japan as a partner, we completely support it. Japan is committed to the scheme of Make in India: Abe

More than 100 Japanese engineers came to India and joined hands with Indian engineers for the project, says Abe.

10:22am: A powerful Japan is in the interests of India and vice-versa, says Shinzo Abe.

10:15am: India’s first high speed rail project inaugurated by PM Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad.

10:10am: We welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and express gratitude towards Japan, says Gujarat chief minister.

10:05am: With the laying of foundation stone of the bullet train, we are also laying the foundation of New India’, says Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.

10:03am: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also present at the inauguration event.

10:00am: Many people criticised the introduction of Rajdhani but now it is the train everyone wants to travel in, says Piyush Goyal.

9:58am: This bullet train will be a symbol of brotherhood between people of India and Japan, says railway minister Piyush Goyal at the event.


9:50am: Modi welcomes Abe. The two leaders inspect a model of the high-speed rail from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

9:44am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Sabarmati athletic ground to welcome Japanese PM Shinzo Abe for the ground-breaking ceremony of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail in Ahmedabad. Abe to arrive soon.


8:30am: Venue of Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail inauguration all set in Ahmedabad.

Check out the highlights from Day 1.

Here are six things you need to know about the visit:

1) Bullet train

India’s ambitious High Speed Rail (HSR) project is now at the take-off stage, coinciding with the visit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will lay the foundation stone of the 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmadabad High Speed Rail in Ahmedabad on Thursday. The cost of the project is Rs 1,10,000-crore. Once complete (scheduled in December 2023) the train which will have a top speed of 350 km per hour will reduce travel time between the two cities to around 2 hours from the existing 7 hours. The project is mostly on Japanese soft loan. But Japanese would also be happy as their high technology is under stiff competition from China and South Korea, who are trying to build similar rail corridors across the world

2) Expanding development cooperation

An ambitious agenda is on the cards at the summit, with Japan expressing its willingness to scale up its partnership in key flagship projects such as Make in India, Skill India and the Clean Ganga Mission. Most of it would be in continuation of the developmental-cooperation trajectory the two leaders had arrived at in 2015. India would benefit from Japanese technology on various sectors and now focus is on expanding the Japanese aid to India in areas such environment protection, sewage building, forest protection. Japanese are also keen on expanding the development cooperation to the north eastern parts of India

3) International cooperation/third country projects

Both the sides will also strive to enhance their international cooperation in Asian and African countries, with a sharp focus on infrastructural projects. This development comes in the wake of China aggressively pushing ahead with its one-road-one-belt connectivity project, which was boycotted by India but endorsed by its South-Asian neighbours like Sri Lanka and Nepal. “While Indian companies enjoy a large presence in Africa, Japanese companies possess advanced technologies. If we come together there, it could be a win-win situation for both countries,” Kenji Hiramatsu, the Japanese ambassador to India, told Hindustan Times in a recent interview.

Incidentally, the fact that the African Union has 54 members – one-third of the United Nations’ total membership – can even help India and Japan achieve their dream of becoming permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. China is already expanding its economic and strategic influence in the resource-rich continent. Its new military base in Djibouti — the first in the region — has raised global concerns over the Xi Jinping government’s strategic intentions for Africa.

4) Expanding strategic and military cooperation

Japan has remained a key strategic partner for India. The two countries are also part of a trilateral military exercise with US (malabar exercise). Efforts are on to expand the cooperation into joint defence production — a topic under discussion for years but needs a definite boost at the high level. There may be specific discussions on long-pending Indian proposal to buy the US-2 amphibious aircraft from Japan and joint development of military equipment. The annual Indo-Japan summit is taking place amid escalating tension in the region in the wake of the nuclear test by North Korea and China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, and Modi and Abe are expected to deliberate on them.

5) Benefit for Gujarat

An agreement between the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Gujarat Maritime Board for developing the Alang shipbuilding yard, besides the establishment of two industrial parks, will be on the table during Abe’s visit.

According to Gujarat Chief Secretary, JN Singh, 15 Japanese companies are keen to invest in Gujarat and will be signing agreements with the state government. Some of these companies include Moresco, Toyoda Gosei, Topre and Murakami.

(With inputs from agencies)

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