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Japan and India agree on train deal

Japan and India have agreed on several high-profile deals including on high-speed rail and defense technology. They have also decided to work towards cooperation in civil-nuclear technology.

A high speed Shinkansen train in Japan

A high speed "Shinkansen" train in Japan

Following talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday Japan planned to build India's first bullet train. It would reduce travel times between the cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Modi's home state, Gujarat, from eight hours to two.

"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 stated. Japan committed funds and technology to this project.

During

Abe's visit to India,

the two prime ministers also agreed to deepen defence ties. The two sides will share technology, equipment and military information.

India also announced Japan's participation in the India-US Malabar naval exercises on a regular basis to deal with maritime challenges in the Pacific region. Modi said India and Japan would cooperate to promote maritime security in the region.

While they agreed to work towards cooperation in civil-nuclear technology, the two leaders stopped short of signing an agreement. A spokesman for India's foreign ministry said it will be signed once technical details are finalized.

Expecting guarantees

"I expect that India will act responsibly on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and work together with us to create a world free of nuclear weapons," Abe stated, after saying that the deal was in its final stages.

Japan is the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack. It has been demanding additional non-proliferation guarantees from India before it exports nuclear reactors.

In 1998, Japan imposed economic sanctions and cut off financial aid to India when New Delhi conducted five nuclear tests. The sanctions were lifted in 2001 and bilateral relations have improved significantly.

Modi and Abe, both ring-wing politicians, forged an unusually close relationship since the Indian leader came to power last year.

das/rc (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)

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