Japan to give 4.5 billion dollar loans to India rail project: report

TOKYO, October 18, 2008 (AFP) – Japan will provide India with 450 billion yen (4.5 billion dollars) in loans to help build a freight railway between New Delhi and Mumbai, a newspaper reported Saturday. The assistance will be Japan’s largest ever loan for a single construction project overseas, topping the 260 billion yen provided to India for a subway project, the Nikkei business daily said.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh are expected to seal the deal when they meet in Japan on Wednesday, it said.

Under the project, India will establish a 1,468-kilometre (912 miles) rail connection between the two cities by 2015 in a bid to speed up and expand cargo traffic in the region.

Japan has been seeking closer ties with India, shifting its focus for overseas assistance from China, saying Beijing is too big to deserve Tokyo’s financial support.