India and Japan sign 16 agreements

Both countries promise to use nuclear energy in peaceful way

New Delhi: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Varanasi to a red carpet welcome on Saturday evening. Accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a special Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft, Abe, who waved as he alighted, was received by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi take part in the evening aarti on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi on Saturday. Pic/PTI
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi take part in the evening aarti on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi on Saturday. Pic/PTI

Japan on Saturday, committed itself to billions of dollars of investments in India, including a $12-billion loan at negligible interest for the much touted Bullet Train and another $12 billion for the Make in India initiative, besides inking far-reaching pacts on defence and nuclear energy — as part of what has been termed as the “Power of 16” agreements.

The 16 agreements came during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India, during which he also attended the annual bilateral summit on the “special strategic and global partnership” with his host and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

“Today, we have scaled new summits in our shared journey,” a visibly pleased Modi said. “The partnership between India and Japan has infinite potential. I’m convinced of that,” Abe, on his part, added.

The Indian side was particularly elated with the package for the high-speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, as it comes with an interest of a mere 0.1 per cent, a duration of as many as 50 years and a moratorium on repayments up to 15 years.

Modi also thanked Abe for the “Japan-India Make-in-India Special Finance Facility” of up to 1.5 trillion yen ($12 billion approximately) to promote investments from the Asian giant, mainly in infrastructure that need long-gestation funding.

With India assuring Japan that it will become a full member in the four international nuclear export control regimes, Tokyo also moved forward and decided to ink pact with New Delhi to cooperate on peaceful uses of nuclear energy after finalising the technical details.

“This is a shining symbol of a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of a peaceful and secure world,” Modi said, adding the pact envisaged on nuclear energy cooperation would extend beyond commerce and clean energy.

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