The city of Ahmedabad is being decked up to welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who arrives on Wednesday on a two-day visit during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and both will lay the foundation stone of the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project.
Potholed roads on the route of the Japanese delegation are being resurfaced at a frantic pace. Many city roads have been closed during various time of the two-day visit. A litany of performances have been organised to showcase the cultural diversity of the country. The city had hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015.
According to the official itinerary issued here on Tuesday, Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Modi would fly into Ahmedabad on Wednesday afternoon and drive down straight to Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram in the evening. They would visit the iconic 16th century mosque in the old city, Sidi Saiyad Mosque, known for its window filigree work synonymous with Ahmedabad.
They would conclude with a dinner and a closed door meeting at a heritage hotel – House of MG – next to this mosque.
The next morning, on Thursday, Abe and Modi would participate in the foundation stone laying ceremony of the much-touted Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train at Sabarmati Athletic Grounds near Sabarmati railway station.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Union Railway Ministry have already inked a Memorandum of Understanding for the 508-km corridor, with Japan to partially fund the entire project.
With capacity to accommodate 750 people, the bullet train is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from seven to roughly three hours. The train project, which is expected to be commissioned by the year 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 sea.
The next schedule of the two dignitaries would be the the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit at the sprawling auditorium complex Mahatma Mandir 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’. The summit comes amid rising tension in the region following a nuclear test by North Korea and new Chinese aggressiveness in the South China Sea.
The two countries are expected to sign multiple economic deals and launch projects, including a Suzuki car manufacturing plant at Hansalpur, about 170 km from Ahmedabad, through remote control. A parallel CEO conference has also been planned.
The two Prime Ministers will also visit Dandi Kutir, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, at the Mahatma Mandir. They would later visit Science City for a dinner hosted by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani before the Japanese Prime Minister leaves for Tokyo on Thursday night.
Prime Minister Modi in a series of tweets has said that India truly values its relationship with Japan and he looks forward to welcoming his Japanese counterpart for the fourth annual summit.
“I look forward to welcoming PM @AbeShinzo. I will be hosting him in Gujarat in our fourth annual summit together.
“PM @AbeShinzo and I will attend a wide range of programmes on 13th and 14th September 2017, aimed at further boosting India-Japan ties,” he tweeted.