(From Reuters)

Japan will provide $12 billion of soft loans to build India’s first bullet train, the two nations announced during a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that also yielded deeper defence ties and a plan for civil nuclear cooperation.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front, 3rd L) and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi perform a religious ritual during evening prayers on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi

Relations have strengthened between Asia’s second and third largest economies as Abe and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi seek to balance China’s rise as the dominant Asian power. Both men are nationalists who enjoy a personal friendship.

The deal to build a high-speed train line between the financial hub of Mumbai and the city of Ahmedabad gives Japan an early lead over China, which is conducting feasibility studies for high speed trains on other parts of India’s dilapidated rail network.

“This enterprise will launch a revolution in Indian railways and speed up India’s journey into the future. It will become an engine of economic transformation in India,” Modi said in a speech. Read More

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