Ahmedabad: Prime minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Thursday laid the foundation stone for India's first bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
The ground-breaking ceremony of India's first bullet train project was performed at the Athletic Stadium near the Sabarmati railway station.
Modi and Abe pressed buttons to unveil plaques announcing the launch of India's revolutionary rail project.
Accommodating 750 people, the bullet train is expected to reduce the travel time between the two cities from seven to roughly three hours. The project, which is expected to be commissioned by 2022, will have a dozen halts. A 21-km-long tunnel will be dug between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai, seven km of which will be under the sea.
On the occasion, Abe said the Indo-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global.
"A strong India is in Japan's interest and a strong Japan is in India's interest," Abe said after laying the foundation stone of the project at a ground at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad.
"My good friend prime minister Narendra Modi is a far-sighted leader. He took a decision two years ago to bring high-speed train in India and to create a new India," he said.
"I hope to enjoy the beautiful scenery of India through the windows of the bullet train when I come back here in a few years," Abe said.
The Rs 1.10 lakh crore train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is expected to be completed by 2022. The train would cover the distance of over 500 km in around two hours.
Japan has extended a soft loan for the ambitious project conceptualized by Modi.
The project is a joint venture between Indian Railways and Japan's Shinkansen Technology.
The prime ministers of the two countries also laid the foundation stone for an institute that will come up at Vadodara where around 4,000 people will be trained for the bullet train project.
Railway minister Piyush Goyal, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis were present on the occasion.
Later in the day, Modi and Abe will participate in the 12th Annual Bilateral Summit in state capital Gandhinagar.
This will be the fourth annual summit between Modi and Abe, where they are expected to review the progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
Abe arrived here on Wednesday on a two-day visit and was received by Modi at the airport who then took the visiting dignitary and his wife to the historic Sabarmati Ashram and a famous 16th century mosque before indulging in dinner diplomacy at a heritage property.
(With inpts from PTI and IANS)