Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off the ambitious Bullet Train project, which is seen opening opportunities not just for India but also to turn into a catalyst for the struggling economies of Asia and Africa.

“I am witness to a historic moment. A powerful Japan and a powerful India can protect each other’s interests,” said Abe, observing that their strategic global partnership could set an example for nations along the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Starting with a namaskar in Hindi, Abe said: “If you take the first two letters from Japan, ‘JA’, and the first from India, ‘I’, we get ‘JAI’. So, it Jai India, Jai Japan ,” touching a chord with the audience, which broke into a big applause.

“PM Modi and I will work to realise this Jai India, Jai Japan .” He said Japan is committed to the ‘Make In India’ project and its industries are engaged in boosting manufacturing. “When the bullet train starts in 2022, I want to travel with Modi to Mumbai,” he said.

After touching on the changing world scenario and the friendship with Japan, Modi said the bullet train would convert the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor into a single economic zone. “Technology transfer should be used to empower the poor.”

MoU signed on Open Skies Later, at Gandhinagar’s Mahatma Mandir, officials from the two sides inked 15 agreements in the presence of Modi and Abe. The MoUs being strategic in nature, no investments were declared by either side.

The key agreement was the one to open skies that will allow unlimited flights to select cities of either country. The other MoUs covered cooperation in manufacturing, science & technology, and skill development.