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India has signed an agreement with Japan for the development of its high-speed rail network. The deal was formalised during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s three-day state visit to India which also yielded deeper defense ties and a plan for civil nuclear cooperation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Japan will support the development of India’s first high-speed rail link, which will connect Mumbai with Ahmedabad. The deal formed part of a US$12 billion rail support package for India, which takes the form of a low-interest loan.

“I cannot think of a strategic partnership that can exercise a more profound influence on shaping the course of Asia and our interlinked ocean regions more than ours. This enterprise will launch a revolution in Indian railways and speed up India’s journey into the future”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The deployment of Japanese bullet train technology on the 505km Mumbai-Ahmedabad line is expected to slash the eight-hour rail journey down to just three hours.