• Kyodo


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will likely visit Japan by the end of May to discuss a high-speed railway project and a bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation pact, India’s foreign minister said Wednesday.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in an interview in Tokyo that the introduction of a high-speed rail system in India “is going to be a very iconic, very special project” and he believes Singh and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have “a meaningful exchange” on the matter.

However, he said it would be too early for the two countries to reach a deal on the transfer of the shinkansen system to India, as New Delhi needs to more closely examine the project’s financial aspects and priorities in railway system investment.

Khurshid, who was scheduled to board a bullet train Thursday before wrapping up a three-day visit to Japan, told a news conference that India will “spend more time looking at this project,” since New Delhi needs to incorporate it in a plan to modernize the nation’s entire railway network over the next 10 years.

India will look at Japan’s offer to provide the high-speed railway system “in all dimensions,” the minister said. “I think we need to have some innovative thinking on both sides to see how this dream project can be brought to fruition.”

Referring to stalled talks on a civilian nuclear pact, Khurshid said India has “great faith and trust” in Japanese nuclear power generation technology despite the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

“We are conscious of the fact that you have a debate in your own country on the entire nuclear policy and the issue of safeguard and safety,” Khurshid said. “As soon as you resolve some issues in public domain here in Japan, we will move forward.”

The accord on a legal framework for the peaceful use and transfer of nuclear technology would enable Japanese companies to export nuclear power generation equipment to India.