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From cars to bullet trains, India-Japan ties have come a long way: PM Modi

Kobe | Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday the ties between India and Japan have become stronger from the time the two countries cooperated to make a car to coming together to manufacture the bullet trains.

Addressing the Indian community in this Japanese city, Prime Minister Modi said Japan has played an important role in India’s economic development.

“When it comes to India’s relations with the world, Japan holds an important position. These relations are not of today but date back to centuries. It has harmony and respect for each other’s culture at its foundation,” Modi said.

He said the bilateral ties are going to become more robust as India aims to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years.

“There was a time when we were collaborating in building cars and today we are collaborating in building a bullet train,” said Modi, who is here to attend the G20 Summit to be held in Osaka from Friday.

“Today there is no such part of India where Japan’s projects or investments have not left its mark. Similarly talent and manpower of India are contributing to strengthen Japan,” he told the enthusiastic Indian diaspora who gave a rousing welcome to the Prime Minister at the Hyogo Prefecture Guest House.

India is planning to run its first bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad with Japan’s help. The first stretch of the ambitious project is expected to be completed by 2022.

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHRSCL) is in the process of acquiring land for the 508-kilometer project.

Modi said Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Justice Radhabinod Pal and many Indians strengthened India’s relationship with Japan and that is why after WW-II, India and Japan’s relationship reached newer heights.

“After I became Prime Minister in 2014 I got an opportunity to strengthen India-Japan friendship, together with my friend PM Shinzo Abe. We took our diplomatic relations beyond the purview of capitals & ambassadors & took them directly among public,” he said.

The Prime Minister also heaped praise on his “dear friend” Abe.

“Besides Delhi and Ahmedabad, I had the opportunity to take Prime Minister Abe to Varanasi. He visited my parliamentary constituency and participated in the Ganga aarti there. Whenever he got the opportunity, he spoke of this divine experience,” he said.

Modi said his government’s main areas of focus were social security and infrastructure development.

“We’ll launch Chandrayaan-2 in few months and by 2022 we’re planning to launch India’s maiden human spaceflight program-Gaganyaan,” he said.

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