Bonhomie Before Business: For Shinzo Abe, PM Modi’s Hug and a Grand Roadshow
PM Modi and Abe and will get down to business on Thursday when they would jointly lay the foundation stone for the high-speed train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai that is expected to be completed by 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie during the road show in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (Photo: MEA/Twitter)
Ahmedabad: The close bond between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe was on full display on Wednesday as the cavalcade of the two leaders rolled on the streets of Ahmedabad as part of an 8-km roadshow, the first such event by the Indian premier with a visiting head of government.
Modi held Abe in his characteristic bear hug after the Japanese Prime Minister, accompanied by wife Akie, landed at the Ahmedabad airport. In a gesture symbolising the growing ties between the two nations, Abe wore a kurta-pyjama and a royal blue Nehru jacket while his wife donned a red salwar-kameez as they accompanied Modi.
The road show, designed to showcase India's cultural diversity, saw artistes from several states performing on 28 stages erected by the roadside. Crowds lined up the streets and cheered lustily as Modi and Abe waved at them. Akie happily clicked photos with her phone. People were seen waving Indian and Japanese national flags at several places.
PM Narendra and Shinzo Abe's friendship was on full display at the Ahmedabad airport on Wednesday. (Photo: MEA/Twitter)
They performed folk dances in traditional attires. At several places along the way, people in customary Japanese ensemble carrying parasols were also seen breaking into a jig to welcome the dignitaries.
The road show, which began from the Ahmedabad airport ended at the Sabarmati Ashram after traversing eight kilometres. The visiting dignitaries and Modi paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the ashram where the Father of the Nation had lived for 12 years.
“Love and Thanks”, Abe wrote in a short message in Japanese on the visitors' register, which was also signed by his wife. The three later sat for some time by the serene Sabarmati Riverfront, chatting and laughing.
Crowds lined up the streets and cheered lustily as Modi and Abe waved at them. (Photo: MEA/Twitter)
The two leaders will get down to business on Thursday when they would jointly lay the foundation stone for the high-speed train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai that is expected to be completed by 2022. The train would cover the distance of over 500-km in around two hours. Japan has extended a soft loan for the ambitious project.
Modi and Abe will hold the 12th Indo-Japan annual Summit meeting at Gandhinagar after which agreements will be signed. Later, an India-Japan business plenary meeting will be held. Fifteen agreements will be signed for investments in Gujarat during the visit of the Japanese prime minister, Gujarat chief secretary J N Singh had said on Tuesday.
Abe's spouse will visit a number of places including an NGO - Blind People's Association. Modi had hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife in Ahmedabad in his home state Gujarat in September 2014.
Abe's visit comes amid rising tensions in the Far East where North Korea recently launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan. Growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea is also a cause of concern in the region and could come up for discussion between the two leaders.
(With inputs from PTI)
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