Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe inaugurated the 508-km bullet train project — officially, the Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-Speed Rail Network — in the Gujarat capital on Thursday morning.
Speaking first, Shinzo Abe hailed this new high in India-Japan ties, emphasising this “special bond” between the two countries.
Abe hoped this first bullet train in India, popularly known as the Shinkansen in his country, would soon spread to encompass other parts of the country.
India’s first bullet train is being built with a Japanese soft loan which India will pay back in the next 50 years at 0.1 per cent interest. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this was not a loan, but a gift. “We are building India’s first bullet train practically free,” he said.
“The next time I am in India, I wish to ride the Shinkansen with Mr Modi,” Abe said to the applause.