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Shinzo Abe arrives in India; bullet train, trade pacts on anvil

Ahmedabad: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived here on Wednesday on a two-day visit with a packed agenda that includes the laying of foundation stone for India's first bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi received Abe, who is accompanied by his wife Akie on Wednesday afternoon.
Immediately after the welcome ceremony, Abe, his wife, and Modi set-off on an 8-km roadshow in an open-roof jeep for the Sabarmati Ashram where the apostle of peace Mahatma Gandhi spent a considerable part of his life.
Abe, who was in a formal suit when he arrived at the Ahmedabad airport, wore kurta-pyjama and a blue Nehru jacket, while his wife donned red salwar-kameez and a white stole to Sabarmati Ashram.
The two leaders repeatedly waved to the crowds that lined up the streets as performers presented traditional dance en route.
At the Sabarmati Ashram set up by Mahatma Gandhi, Abe and his wife paid homage to the Father of the Nation.
As the cavalcade moved on, cheering crowds were seen waving Indian and Japanese national flags.
The road show, designed to showcase India's cultural diversity, saw artistes from several states performing on 28 stages erected by the roadside.
They performed folk dances in traditional attire, while at several places along the way people in customary Japanese ensemble carrying parasols were also seen breaking into a jig to welcome the visiting dignitaries.
The road show, which began from Ahmedabad airport ended at the Sabarmati Ashram after traversing nearly eight kilometres.
On Thursday Abe and Modi will lay the foundation stone for the high-speed train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai which is expected to be completed by 2022. The train would cover the distance of over 500 km in around two hours.
The two leaders will hold the 12th Indo-Japan annual Summit meeting at Gandhinagar.
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