Ahmedabad, Sept 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday laid down the foundation stone for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed bullet train project. India’s first bullet train will start running on August 15, 2022. The bullet train will cover 508 kilometres and reduce travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to around 2 hours from the existing 7-8 hours. The project costs Rs 1,10,000 crore.

After laying the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train project, Abe addressed the gathering, beginning his speech with ‘Namaste’. Calling PM Modi a ‘far-sighted leader’, Abe said, “He made a decision of making New India and chose Japan as partner, we completely support it.” He also said Japan was committed to supporting the ‘Make in India’ programme, adding, “If we work together nothing is impossible.” Abe said that he hopes to come to Ahmedabad in a Shinkansen (bullet train) next time. He concluded his address saying, “PM Modi and I will work towards realizing Jai Japan- Jai India.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the Japanese PM for supporting India’s bullet train project. “I thank my friend Shinzo Abe, he took personal interest and assured that there should be no glitches in the project. If one says take loan and return it in 50 years, is it believable? But Japan is such a friend,they gave us loan of 88,000 crore at 0.1 per cent interest,” Modi said while addressing the gathering in Ahmedabad. He said that these high-speed corridors will bring next generation growth to India.

“Our railway network is so huge that number of people travelling in trains every week in India is equal to Japan’s total population,” the Prime Minister added.

The bhumi pujan for the bullet train project took place at the Sabarmati Athletic Grounds near Sabarmati railway station in Ahmedabad. Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were also present at the venue. The foundation stone for India’s ambitious project was laid down in the presence of thousands of people.

Speaking on what can be seen a historic moment for Indian Railways, Piyush Goyal said that the train will be a symbol of brotherhood between India and Japan. He also highlighted how aspersions were cast on Rajdhani initially, the train which now everyone prefers to travel on.

The bullet train will halt at 12 proposed stations that include Bandra-Kurla Complex, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. The bullet train will start underground from the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai and travel 21 kms through a tunnel, seven km of which will be under the sea, before emerging over ground at Thane.