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Japan wants to beat China in high-speed rail in India

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Staff Writer | November 14, 2016
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi met his counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, almost a year after the Indian leader picked Japan as a partner for the nation’s first line.
Transportation   A $15 billion project
Tis ia about a 980-billion-rupee ($15 billion) rail linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad, roughly the distance from Paris to London. Abe hopes that will make Japan the front-runner if India implements five other planned lines.

China beat out Japan for a line in Indonesia last year, and the two are set to face off again over a proposed Singapore-Kuala Lumpur link.

A Chinese proposal to build one in Thailand fell through this year, while a Japanese-backed plan for Vietnam was rejected by the country’s national assembly. Taiwan’s Japan-sponsored line has proved to be a financial flop and had to be bailed out by the government last year.

Indian Railways carries 23 million people daily on congested and aging tracks with roots dating back to British colonial rule. Sometimes, trains slow to a walking pace.

Modi plans to spend 8.5 trillion rupees through 2020 on new tracks, including bullet trains and modern stations, as he looks to spur a manufacturing boom.

The project Japan is backing will see the financial capital Mumbai linked by a 508-kilometer (316-mile) high-speed track to the economic hub of Ahmedabad, the largest city in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

Japan has agreed to provide loans to cover up to 81 percent of the cost of one of India’s biggest infrastructure endeavors