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Groundbreaking ceremony of bullet train in 2017

Consultancy work on the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project will start next month and the construction will commence by the end of 2018.

Tokyo: Consultancy work on the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project will start next month and the construction will commence by the end of 2018.

Taking note of the steady progress made in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) Project, the joint statement -- issued after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe -- said flagship rail project will become operational in 2023.

Groundbreaking Ceremony will be held in 2017.

The two Prime Ministers also welcomed that a task force will be set up comprising representatives of both countries to develop a concrete roadmap for phased transfer of technology and 'Make in India'.

"Both sides will explore further strengthening of partnership in high speed railways," said the statement.

The two leaders emphasised the critical importance of human resource development in high speed rail technology, operation and maintenance in a planned manner, including the commencement of preliminary work on establishment of HSR Institute and development of its training programme.

They recognised the importance of accelerating the MAHSR Project by holding the Groundbreaking Ceremony in 2017. They also welcomed the growing collaboration between India and Japan in the modernisation and expansion of conventional railway system in India.

Modi briefed Abe about India's efforts to accelerate economic development through innovative initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Smart City, Swachh Bharat and Start-Up India.

Abe expressed Japan's firm support for these initiatives by sharing its advanced skills and technologies, through active mobilisation of Japanese public and private sector investments, including through ODA.

The two Prime Ministers underscored that these initiatives provide significant opportunities for further collaboration between private sectors of India and Japan.

They also decided to cooperate on the HRD in the manufacturing sector in India through Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Programme.

"This programme will enhance the manufacturing base of India and contribute to Make in India and Skill India through training 30,000 persons over next 10 years with Japanese style manufacturing skills...," the statement said. 

The two Prime Ministers also welcomed the steady progress to realise 3.5 trillion yen of public and private financing to India in five years under the Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnership.

They also welcomed the progress in the projects at the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor. Besides, they confirmed the importance of securing appropriate implementation of ODA projects.

They also confirmed the importance of implementing the Japan-India Make-in-India Special Finance Facility of up to 1.5 trillion yen by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to promote direct investment of Japanese companies in India.

The statement further said the leaders welcomed the MoU between the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development to explore funding for infrastructure projects in India.

Modi and Abe recognised that access to reliable, clean and affordable energy is critical for economic growth of both countries. They further desired to strengthen bilateral energy cooperation not only for development of both countries but also for worldwide energy security, energy access and climate change issue.

They also reaffirmed their intention to promote transparent and diversified Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) market including elimination of destination clause.

Abe commended India's strong commitment to improve business environment in the country, and welcomed reforms undertaken for liberalising investment policies, simplifying and rationalising taxation system through the passage of historic GST Bill, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and other measures.

He also expressed appreciation for the facilitation provided by the 'Japan Plus' for the Japanese companies in India and the coordination by the 'Core Group' chaired by Cabinet Secretary for the facilitation of Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnership.

The two leaders noted "with satisfaction" that the bilateral Strategic Economic Dialogue, Financial Dialogue and meetings on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) were held successfully this year and underlined the importance of these dialogues and their subcommittees to deepen bilateral cooperation.

"They also welcomed the entry into force of the Agreement on Social Security in October 2016, which would reduce costs of business and further facilitate human and economic exchanges between India and Japan," the statement added.