"The president wants the groundbreaking to take place in August," coordinating minister for the economy Mr Sofyan Djalil told local media outlets following the meeting. He added that China and Japan had presented comprehensive feasibility studies for the 150km project, which was estimated to cost Rs 50 trillion ($US 3.75bn) in 2013.

Both countries have reportedly offered 40 year loans with a 10-year grace period for the project, with Japan said to have offered an interest rate of 0.1% and China slightly higher.

Under the Japanese proposal, the line will start at Manggarai where there is an existing station, and offer one stop between the two cities. The Chinese propose starting the line in Halim in East Jakarta with the service running non-stop to Bandung. However, Jokowi is said to prefer the Japanese proposal because building the Chinese project would require purchasing a 370ha piece of land from the air force.

Djalil said that Indonesia is set to appoint an independent consultant "from France or Germany" to carry out an independent assessment of the proposals.

The apparent decision by Jokowi to proceed with Jakarta - Bandung high-speed line follows the shelving of the project to build a 750km line between Jakarta and the country's second largest city, Surabaya in January. The project's estimated Rs 150bn cost was said to be beyond the means of the state budget while concerns were expressed over future revenues due to low air fares on the route.

Jokowi told the cabinet meeting that the "train is a mode of transport which is efficient, reliable and cheap. That's why its development must be prioritised."

"And for that the development of an inter-city high-speed railway must start immediately," he said.