1. India-Japan summit: Modi, Abe to focus on railway funding, N-deal

India-Japan summit: Modi, Abe to focus on railway funding, N-deal

Accompanied by a high-level delegation, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be in New Delhi for the ninth India-Japan summit from December 9.

By: | New Delhi | Published: November 20, 2015 12:03 AM

Accompanied by a high-level delegation, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be in New Delhi for the ninth India-Japan summit from December 9. Apart from a gamut of issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart will discuss the possibility of Japan’s pension funds to invest in the railways and civil nuclear deal. India in the next five years is planning to raise $140 billion to invest in railway infrastructure.

Sources said Modi and Abe will harp on maritime security, military trade and enhancing trade relations between the two countries and review implementation of various decisions taken in course of last one year to boost ties.

Sources told FE that after the meetings in New Delhi, the Japanese leader will also go to Varanasi before heading back to his country. The two countries have come together to improve the living condition in Varanasi and other neighboring cities along the Ganga through better sanitation system.

Modi, during his visit to Japan last year, had announced signing of a letter of intent between Varanasi and Kyoto for cooperation as partner cities.

According to Takema Sakamoto, chief representative, JICA India: “Japan’s experiences such as in river purification and community-based solid waste management will improve the living environment in Varanasi and contribute to achieving the objectives of Ganga Rejuvenation.”

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has extended around Rs 580 crore for the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) project for improvement of water quality of the Ganga at Varanasi and improving the living environment for city residents, pilgrims and tourists.

Under the GAP project, construction of sewers, pumping stations and sewage treatment plants and community toilets for underprivileged households are being planned in Varanasi. Other projects supported by JICA include Yamuna Action Plan, abatement of pollution in Hussain Sagar Lake at Hyderabad through sewerage system development as well as sewerage system development at Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Guwahati.

Japanese ambassador Takeshi Yagi, who will soon be leaving India at the end of his tenure, said: “Japan was impressed by India’s policy initiatives and urged these be put to ground to encourage investments. Japan is well on course to realise 3.5 trillion yen of public and private investment and financing from Japan, as articulated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.”

The railways is looking at cooperation and tie-ups with Japan in terms of railways research and development and safety structures, given that Japan has almost zero accident rate and assistance in major projects such as dedicated freight corridors and the Kolkata Metro Rail project, ” according to Suresh Prabhu, minister of railways.

The two countries have been expanding their economic and strategic engagement in recent years. The economic engagement witnessed significant rise after both countries signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2011. The comprehensive trade pact between India and Japan aims to double nearly bilateral trade to $25 billion.

Besides increasing trade, the deal aimed to eliminate tariffs on 90 % of Japanese exports to India, such as auto parts and electric appliances, and 97 % of imports from India, including agricultural and fisheries products, until 2021.

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