Japan and India sign deals on bullet train, nuclear energy

Indian Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe prior to their meeting.
Indian Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe prior to their meeting.PHOTO: EPA

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Japan and India agreed several high-profile deals on Saturday (Dec 12) on high-speed rail, defence technology, and a memorandum of understanding on civil nuclear cooperation, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

"This enterprise will launch a revolution in Indian railways and speed up India's journey into the future," Mr Modi said of plans for a Japanese-made bullet train to link the cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

"It will become an engine of economic transformation in India," he said.

The pair also agreed a long-mooted memorandum of understanding on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which has not yet been signed as technical details are still being finalised, a spokesman for India's Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.

Japan once shunned nuclear cooperation with India, which has not ratified the international nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but analysts say Tokyo has since softened its stance.

Mr Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, both right-wing nationalists, have forged an unusually close relationship since the Indian leader came to power last year, in part to counter China's growing influence.

The Indian PM has pledged to overhaul India's ramshackle railways and other infrastructure as part of his ambitious economic reforms.