Japan PM to announce $2b loan to India: report

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

TOKYO- Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will announce low-interest loans to India worth $2.0 billion when he visits his counterpart Manmohan Singh this weekend, a report said Friday.

Tokyo will provide yen loans totalling about 210 billion yen for construction of subway lines and energy-conservation projects, the Nikkei economic daily said. The two leaders will hold talks on Saturday.

Japanese companies are involved in projects to expand New Delhi's subway system but competition for infrastructure works in India has intensified, the daily noted, particularly with South Korean and European firms.

Abe hopes to support Japanese corporations by creating an environment that makes it easier for them to win orders, the paper said.

Some 60 billion yen of the 210 billion yen that Japan provides will go toward energy-conservation projects, including the development of solar power plants and wind farms through an Indian government-backed company handling renewable energy projects, the Nikkei said.

Japan's foreign ministry said the two countries were discussing economic cooperation but nothing has been formally decided yet.

Abe, accompanied by a Japanese business delegation, will begin a three-day visit to India on Saturday.

Since coming to power in December 2012 Abe has travelled the globe extensively, partly in his role as salesman-in-chief for Japan Inc., but also as he looks to forge and reinforce relationships as a counterweight to the rise of China.