Japan PM Shinzo Abe Gujarat visit
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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Highlights: Japan PM Shinzo Abe, PM Modi take out roadshow in open jeep, visit 16th century mosque

Exactly three years ago, Shinzo Abe had flown down to Kyoto to welcome PM Narendra Modi in his first bilateral visit outside India’s immediate neighbourhood within four months of assuming office.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 13, 2017 8:38:14 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the Sidi Sayyid mosque in Ahmedabad (Credit: PMO India/Twitter)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in India on Wednesday to attend the 12th edition of the India-Japan annual summit meeting. He received a warm welcome from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who defied protocol to receive him at the airport. The two leaders, along with Japan’s First Lady, then took a trip from the airport to the Sabarmati Ashram in a roadshow in an open jeep. Japan’s First Couple offered tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at the ashram.

The India-Japan annual summit meeting will be held in Gandhinagar on Thursday. Modi and Abe are likely to review the progress in the multifaceted co-operation between India and Japan under the framework of their ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’. They will also lay the foundation for the country’s first high-speed rail corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Japan PM Shinzo Abe Gujarat visit highlights:

8:30 pm: Updates for Wednesday end here. Thanks for joining.

8:15 pm: Need a recap of all that happened today with Abe’s first day of India visit? Read it here

6:45 pm: Shinzo Abe had this to say about India at the beginning of his two-day visit.

6:30 pm: PM Modi and Abe are likely to spend some time by the Sabarmati riverfront after finishing their dinner. Security permitting, the two leaders may take a walk and engage in a private conversation. The riverfront has been decked with fairy lights especially in tricolour.

6:20 pm: The two leaders have now entered a restaurant where they will engage in diplomacy over dinner. Dishes of Gujarati cuisine are likely to be served for the Japan PM and the First Lady.

6:15 pm: PM Modi and Shinzo Abe are now at the Sidi Sayyid ni jaali mosque in Ahmedabad. The mosque was built in 1572 AD by Sidi Sayyid and is known for its intricate lattice artwork. The two leaders, accompaned by the First Lady of Japan, took a round of the mosque with PM explaining the design and the architecture of the protected monument.

5:40 pm: The bullet train project is one of the many deals the two sides will sign tomorrow. What do you know about the high-speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad? Read all about it here

5:15 pm: Have you read our explainer on what the Sidi Saiyyed mosque in Ahmedabad represents? This is the same mosque that PM Modi and Abe will shortly visit in the city. Read it here.

Also, see below some photos of the mosque.

5:00 pm: Here are some photos (below) from the airport when PM Abe and the First Lady of Japan arrived about an hour ago.

4:50 pm: Abe and the First Lady have departed the ashram for a brief break, post which they will make a trip, along with PM Modi, to the Sidi Saiyyed mosque in Ahmedabad.

4:45 pm: The Japanese PM and the First Lady signed the visitors’ book after which PM Modi is seen explaining the concept of the ‘three wise monkeys’, a replica of which sits on the table. The sculpture of the three monkeys represent the principle – ‘see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil”.

4:40 pm: The leaders then sat for a few minutes at the Sabarmati riverfront. They are also seen conversing as they sat in front of the river.

4:30 pm: Abe and PM Modi are now at the Sabarmati Ashram where they paid homage to ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi. They offered floral tribute at the statue of Bapuji at the ashram. Gandhi spent almost 12 years at the ashram with his wife Kasturba.

Children sang ‘Vaishnav janto’ and ‘raghupati raghav’ as the two leaders along with the First Lady toured the ashram.

4.15 pm: The entire stretch from the airport till Sabarmati Ashram is lined with crowds waving Japan and India flags.

4.00 pm: It appears Shinzo Abe ditched his formal suit and quickly changed into a sky blue vest and white kurta for the roadshow. He and his wife joined PM Modi on an open-top white Gypsy which will take them to Sabarmati Ashram.

(Source: ANI/Twitter)

3.50 pm: This is where PM Modi will be hosting Shinzo Abe and his wife tonight.

3.30 pm: Shinzo Abe lands in Ahmedabad, gets a red carpet welcome. PM Modi received the Japanese PM at the airport and welcomed him with a warm hug. After receiving the Guard of Honour, Abe and Modi will embark on a 8 km roadshow.

3.15 pm: PM Modi has arrived in Ahmedabad. He is expected to shortly receive Shinzo Abe at the airport.

3.00 pm: Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan has put out a video on its YouTube of the high-speed rail network which is set to reduce the travel time between Ahmedabad and Mumbai from 8 hours to 2 hours.

2.36 pm:  On the subject of India and Japan strengthening their strategic partnership, this what the experts are saying.

“Neither India nor Japan are shy of the strategic connotation in their expanding partnership which signifies great comfort and trust in the relationship. China’s expansion… has caused much concern and discomfort in Delhi… Japan on the other hand has a policy on ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’ with India at its centre,” Darshana M Baruah, research analyst at Carnegie India told The Indian Express correspondent has to say.

2.00 pm: On Thursday, the two Prime Ministers will attend a function to mark the commencement of work of India’s first high-speed rail project. The train is expected to drastically reduce the travel time between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

shinzo abe, japan pm, narendra modi, abe modi meeting, shinzo abe india, shinzo abe ahmedabad, shinzo abe meeting live updates, indian express news Modi and Abe are also scheduled to visit Sabarmati Ashram. (Express photo by Javed Raja)

1.30 pm: “The roadshow, airport reception, dinner at a roof-top restaurant, and post-dinner walk — they will all send out pictures of warmth between the two leaders. Optics apart, it will give the two leaders ample time to engage with each other for almost eight hours on the first day of the visit,” a top source involved in the arrangements told The Indian Express. Read more here.

1.00 pm: An India-Japan Business Plenary will be held, ANI reported. Modi and Abe are also scheduled to visit Sabarmati Ashram. They will also visit the Sidi Saiyyid Ni Jaali – a famous 16th century mosque in Ahmedabad. The two leaders are also slated to visit Dandi Kutir, the museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, at the Mahatma Mandir.

12.30 pm: Here’s some trivia. Exactly three years ago, Shinzo Abe had flown down to Kyototo welcome PM Narendra Modi in his first bilateral visit outside India’s immediate neighbourhood within four months of assuming office.

12.15 pm: Sources told The Indian Express that PM Modi is likely to go to the airport to receive Abe, which is a departure from protocol he has made only for a handful of leaders, including US President Barack Obama.

12.00 pm: The road from the airport to the city has been dotted with hoardings with photos of Abe and Modi, as well as cutouts, declaring “a strong synergy for peace and prosperity”, “welcome to the only home of Asiatic lions”, “New India, bright future”, and of course, “Welcome to India, welcome to Gujarat” — in Japanese Hiragana script.

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