New Delhi: It was only this year in April that Mao Zedong’s Wuhan Villa acted as a patch-up venue between India and China. At the surprise informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chinese chose the picturesque Wuhan vacation home of Mao for a thaw post Doklam.
Japan and India don’t need a patch-up venue but it appears Shinzo Abe too would like to go down the villa path while engaging with Prime Minister Modi at the annual India-Japan summit. Sources say he is reciprocating PM Modi’s gesture of rolling out the red carpet in Ahmedabad last year by hosting him at his private villa in Yamanashi.
Modi will be the first international leader to be invited by Abe for a dinner at his villa. According to sources, some select Japanese MPs and leaders will also be present at this dinner.
Yamanashi prefecture is known for being home to Mt Fuji, an active volcano 100kms from Tokyo. Mt Fuji is considered one of the scared mountains in Japan. Modi will be hosted for lunch at a hotel close to Mt Fuji.
A day ahead of the formal engagements in Tokyo on 29th October, PM Modi will be in Yamanashi on 28th October. The two leaders will be holding restricted talks in the morning. PM Modi will also be taken to the FANUC robotics facility in Yamanashi. In the evening, the Japanese Prime Minister will throw a dinner for PM Modi at the villa in Yamanashi.
The two sides have upgraded their relationship to a ‘Special Global and Strategic Partnership’ in 2014. India remains vital to Tokyo also as a counter to China. Japan is looking at strengthening defence ties with India clearly with an eye on China. Japanese ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu while speaking at think tank Brookings India earlier this week said the main area of convergence included deepening maritime cooperation, specifically in the Indo-Pacific.
Interestingly, just three days before he hosts Modi, Abe is in China on a state visit. This is the first state visit by a Japanese leader to China in eight years. Even though the two are trying to get along and forge cordial ties in the backdrop of the trade threats from US President Donald Trump, Tokyo will still remain wary of China’s territorial hegemony. The two are engaged in a bitter dispute over East China Sea islands called Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.