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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2585

Modi in Japan, ties up to make Varanasi smart city

From Malladi Rama Rao
From Malladi Rama Rao

A MoU on developing the holy city of Varanasi as a smart city marked the first day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan on Saturday. He presented to his host, Shinzo Abe, a specially-chosen book titled 'Swami Vivekananda and Japan'.

Indian Ambassador Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa and Kyoto Mayor Daisaka Kadokawa signed the MoU in the presence of the two premiers at the State Guest House in Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years.

For Modi, this is his first bilateral visit outside South Asia since he took office in May. In a special gesture, Shinzo Abe, flew to Kyoto to receive Modi. Both hugged each other, and then fed fish in keeping with the tradition in Japan.

In Tokyo, both leaders will have formal discussions on the roadmap for "our global and strategic partnership in the years ahead", as Modi put it.

An official release on Modi’s engagements on the opening day his five-day visit to Japan said:

“In the elegant setting of the Imperial Guest House in Kyoto, Prime Minister Modi sat down with his host, Prime Minister Abe, at a traditional dining table for over one and half hours for an exceptionally warm and friendly conversation over a traditional Japanese meal this evening. Their discussion was marked by a great deal of mutual respect and admiration and convergence of views.

“The two Prime Ministers spoke about the ancient cultural and religious links between the countries, which were not known widely. They felt that the commencement of Prime Minister Modi’s visit in Kyoto, the old capital city and an important centre of Buddhism, highlighted this important spiritual foundations of India-Japan relations. They both keenly looked forward to visiting the ancient Toji Temple, which was a symbol of this link, the following morning. The MoU between Varanasi and Kyoto, signed earlier in the evening in their presence, was yet another reflection of working together to foster cooperation to address contemporary challenges on the strength of their shared heritage.

“Prime Minister Modi also mentioned his plan to visit Centre for iPS Cell Research in Kyoto the next morning as part of his desire to seek advanced solutions through stem cell research for health challenges he had seen in India.

“Prime Minister Abe spoke with great enthusiasm and strong conviction about India and the importance of India-Japan relations for Japan and the region. Prime Minister Modi described Japan as one of India’s closest and most important partners and spoke about his own admiration and affinity for Japan and his high hopes from the relationship.

“The discussions covered economic issues, and the opportunities that both countries had to seize the opportunities presented by their respective strong political mandates to inject new momentum and energy in their economies. They spoke with great optimism about a strong and robust future for India-Japan economic partnership. Prime Minister Modi observed that the relationship was far below potential and expressed hope that the two sides would strive to achieve in five years the unrealized potential of five decades.

“Prime Minister Abe expressed confidence that under Prime Minister Modi India’s economic transformation would gather strong momentum. An economically resurgent India would, he said, be of great strategic importance to the region and the world, and an inspiration for democratic forces around the world. Prime Minister Modi said that a strong India-Japan partnership was important not just for the economic benefits to the two countries, but even more as a force of good for the region and the world.

“The two leaders also had an extensive and candid exchange of views on the developments in the region and the world and saw in their remarkable convergence of views a great opportunity to work together for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world.

“Prime Minister Modi was deeply touched by Prime Minister Abe’s gesture of hosting him in Kyoto. They looked forward to continuing their conversation in Tokyo”.

-Asian Tribune –

Varanasi- Kyoto Partner City agreement signed in the presence of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, in Kyoto, Japan on August 30, 2014.
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi being received by the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe on his arrival, in Kyoto, Japan on August 30, 2014.
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