"People think what is special in bullet train...": EAM S Jaishankar opens up on 'benefits' of project

MUMBAI: Elaborating upon the multiple benefits that will accrue from a bullet train, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that it will help in decongestion and fasten the pace of urbanization.

He was speaking at an event titled 'India's Vishwabandhu Approach to Global Relations' at the Constitution Club in Mumbai on Monday.

Addressing the event, Jaishankar said, "Piyush Goyal and I worked on and a few years ago we decided that we will work with Japan on the bullet train...people think what is special in a bullet train, it is just a train, it will go a little bit faster."

"Actually what a bullet train does is it reduces the distance so much that somebody living 150 km away from Mumbai can come into Bandra Kurla complex in 20 minutes. Think about housing, real estate, decongestion. See how urbanization will spread. When we started this project there was a debate," he added.

The EAM recalled that some people had raised doubts even when the first metro train came to India under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government.

"Interestingly I was also in Japan when the first metro came, and Atal ji was in power. At that time also, people asked what is the need for a metro. You all are from Mumbai, now you tell me whether the metro is needed or not. If the Atal Ji-led government hadn't taken that decision then, can you imagine the clogging on our streets today?" he said.

He further said that collaborating with Japan will help in moving the project faster.

"So I mention bullet train because it's not some, you know...it will take us a long time. If you collaborate with someone, it will move very much faster. But if you are smart, you will collaborate, absorb, and innovate also," Jaishankar added.

Earlier in the day, in a separate event, the Foreign Minister had slammed the Opposition parties accusing them of "delaying" the bullet train project.

"We are on the side of the bullet train project. Now, you know who delayed the bullet train. So, this is an example of who is in favour of technology, progress, and the project, and who is clearly against it," Jaishankar said at an event in Mumbai.

India's first bullet train project is currently under construction. It will connect the cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The project was launched in 2017.

Earlier in February, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw accused the then-Uddav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government of slowing down the bullet train project during their tenure from 2019 to 2022.

He also said that the first section of the high-speed train will open in July-August 2026 between Surat and Bilimora.


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