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Posted at: Sep 14, 2017, 1:58 AM; last updated: Sep 14, 2017, 10:25 AM (IST)

Modi, Abe hold road show of bonhomie

Will lay stone of Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project today I Hold bilateral talks in Gandhinagar

Manas Dasgupta

Ahmedabad, September 13

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accompanied by his wife Akie Abe arrived at the Ahmedabad airport amidst a massive reception this evening on a two-day state visit to India, which this time will remain confined only to Gujarat’s commercial city of Ahmedabad and state capital Gandhinagar. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had arrived in Ahmedabad from Delhi only a few minutes earlier to receive his Japanese counterpart. Besides Modi, Gujarat Governor OP Kohli, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and host of other dignitaries were present at the airport to receive Abe and his wife. Modi held Abe in his characteristic bear hug as he and his wife climbed down the steps from his special aircraft. 

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A group of Buddhist monks were also present at the airport to receive the Japanese prime minister who is here to attend along with Modi the 12th India- Japan Annual Bilateral Summit to be held at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar tomorrow.

It was one of the rare instances when the head of state of a foreign country skirted the national capital Delhi and arrived in a state capital on an official visit. In a gesture symbolising the growing ties between the two large Asiatic economies, Abe wore kurta-pyjama and a royal blue Nehru jacket while his wife donned a red salwar-kameez ensemble as they accompanied Modi on an 8-km road show from the airport to the Sabarmati Ashram.

The top dignitaries were welcomed en route by 28 troupes showcasing cultural heritage of various states, including Gujarat, Kerala and Odisha. Locals had also gathered in large numbers with flags of India and Japan along the decked up roads to welcome them.

On reaching Sabarmati Ashram, the dignitaries paid homage to Father of the nation. Both the Prime Ministers then sat alongside Sabarmati river at the Ashram on traditional Sankheda sofas. Modi acted as guide to Abe couple, explaining the nuances of Charkha and other important visuals at the Ashram. They were gifted a replica of Gadhiji’s famous three monkeys, which originally was believed to be presented to the Mahatma by a Japanese intellectual. The Japanese Prime Minister and his wife later reportedly wrote “Love and best wishes and thank you” in Japanese in the visitors’ book.  

Before embarking on the India visit, Abe described India to be “tremendously special” to Japan and described Modi as a “powerful leader with an outstanding ability to get things done.”

The two leaders will get down to business tomorrow when they would jointly lay the foundation stone for the high-speed train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, which is expected to be completed by 2022. The train would cover the distance of over 500 km in around two hours. 

The two leaders will hold the 12th Indo-Japan annual Summit meeting at Gandhinagar after which agreements will be exchanged. Later, an India-Japan business plenary meeting will be held. Fifteen agreements will be signed for investments in Gujarat.


China in mind, defence ties to get boost 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are likely to deliberate extensively on bolstering defence ties during their summit talks in Gandhinagar on Thursday in the backdrop of China's growing assertiveness in the region
  • There may be specific discussions on the long-pending Indian proposal to buy the US-2 amphibious aircraft from Japan and joint development of military equipment to further deepen the defence ties, official sources said
N-cooperation on cards

  • India and Japan may enhance their cooperation in non-energy areas of the nuclear sector, including nuclear medicine, irradiation, research and development in atomic sector, a senior official said, ahead of the delegation level talks between the two Prime Ministers 
  • There is a possibility of negotiations to have Japanese credit-line in future for procuring high-end equipment to build nuclear power plants in the country, he said

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