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Japanese PM spurs bullet train dreams in India
Published on 29 Dec. 2009 11:39 PM IST
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Calling for greater bilateral trade and investment, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama Tuesday pitched for introducing superfast bullet trains in India. “Since its inception (in Japan), there has been no accidents. We will like to see this technology being used in India,” Hatoyama said here. The proposal is under discussion, official sources said. The railway ministry is exploring the possibilities of introducing superfast trains on certain routes like Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Delhi-Chandigarh sectors, the sources added. Former railway minister Lalu Prasad was quite keen on introducing bullet trains in India. “The day is not far off when the bullet train will run in the country,” Prasad had said in January this year after getting a first-hand feel of the superfast trains travelling from Tokyo to Kyoto at a speed of about 300 kmph. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tokyo in December 2006, Japan had assured cooperation to India in creating a high speed link between New Delhi and Mumbai. Pitching for expanding bilateral trade and investment, Hatoyama said it will bring benefits not only to India and Japan but also to the region and the world. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with the Japanese leader Tuesday and agreed to give a push to negotiations for an early conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that has the potential to multiply bilateral trade manifold. The two sides have already held 12 rounds of negotiations over the EPA. For the first time, Japan’s investment in India ($5.22 billion) has surpassed that of its investment in China ($3.65 billion). The two sides plan to scale up their bilateral trade, estimated to be around $13 billion last year, to $20 billion next year. Alluding to the landmark Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, that will span seven states, Hatoyama said it will enable Japanese businesses to scale up their investment in India and spur development in the entire Asian region. The two sides have also agreed to finalise Phase I of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Project between Mumbai and New Delhi with a view to implementing it next year. “Both these projects will have a significant positive impact on the Indian economy and on the scale of our economic cooperation with Japan,” Manmohan Singh said. Giving a boost to these projects, the two sides Monday signed agreements to build eco-friendly cities along the Rs.3.6 lakh crore ($72 billion) Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor and finalised a project development fund.

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