India's new prime minister Mr Narendra Modi reportedly gave the go-ahead to develop the 545km Mumbai - Ahmedabad line as a showpiece project at a recent meeting with the chairman of India's High Speed Rail Corporation (HSRC) Mr Satish Agnihotri.

Indian Railways (IR) and French National Railways (SNCF) are understood to have developed a detailed business plan for the corridor, the prefeasibility study of which has been completed by a consortium of Systra, Italferr and Rites.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) is currently preparing a detailed study of the proposed Rs 700bn ($US 12.1bn) corrido, which is scheduled to be submitted in May 2015. Jica is believed to have agreed in principle to part-finance the project by way of a soft loan.

IR is expected to freeze technical specifications and formalise systems contracts ahead of the submission of the Jica report, while the Railways Ministry has started to finalise a status report relating to the financial, technical and business models for all planned high-speed lines.

A prefeasibility report by MottMacdonald on the 1044km New Delhi - Patna line has also been submitted and is under the ministry's consideration, sources said. Project cost is estimated at Rs 1300bn.