The decision ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit beginning on Friday gives Tokyo an early lead over China.
India's cabinet has cleared a $ 14.7 billion Japanese proposal to build the country's first bullet train line, a government minister and an official said on Thursday, one of the biggest foreign investments in Indian infrastructure.
The decision ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit beginning on Friday gives Tokyo an early lead over China, which is also bidding to construct high-speed train lines along large parts of India's largely British-era rail system.
"It's been done," a government minister who attended the cabinet meeting headed by Modi on Wednesday night told Reuters.
An official in Modi's office also confirmed the decision, saying there were some issues relating to the bullet train but that had since been sorted out in time for Abe's visit.
"We expect to make an announcement during the visit," the official said. Both the minister and the official spoke on the condition of anonymity.