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PM Modi and Japan's Abe launch Indian shinkansen project

$17bn railway expected to serve 15 million a year, create thousands of jobs

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, celebrate the beginning of construction on a high-speed rail project in Ahmadabad, India on Sept. 14. (Photo by Yuji Kuronuma)

NEW DELHI -- India on Thursday inched closer to its dream of getting a bullet train when Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, laid the foundation stone for the country's first high-speed rail link based on Japan's famed shinkansen technology. 

"It's a historic day today, with a new chapter beginning in the relationship between the two countries," Abe said, speaking in Japanese, at a ceremony to mark the start of work on the 1.08 trillion-rupee ($16.8 billion) project -- 81% of which is to be financed by soft loans from Japan -- in the western city of Ahmedabad, in Modi's home state of Gujarat. 

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