Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida here and conveyed his deepest condolences over the sudden demise of former prime minister Shinzo Abe as he underlined the late Japanese leader's contributions in strengthening the bilateral partnership as well as his vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Tuesday to attend the state funeral of former Japanese prime minister.
PM Modi joined several global leaders to pay tributes to Abe.
Representatives from over 100 countries, including more than 20 heads of state and governments, are expected to attend Abe's funeral on Tuesday.
The former prime minister reshaped Japan's foreign policy, including setting out a bold vision for a quantum leap in ties with India.
"Landed in Tokyo," Modi tweeted, posting photos of him while deplaning. He also posted a similar tweet in Japanese.
Landed in Tokyo. pic.twitter.com/8L4VNNVOUL— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 26, 2022
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted, "PM @narendramodi arrives in Tokyo. Will participate in the State Funeral of former PM Shinzo Abe later today. Will also hold a bilateral meeting with PM @kishida230, reaffirming commitment to further strengthening of India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership."
PM @narendramodi arrives in Tokyo.— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) September 26, 2022
Will participate in the State Funeral of former PM Shinzo Abe later today.
Will also hold a bilateral meeting with PM @kishida230, reaffirming commitment to further strengthening of India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership. pic.twitter.com/LeUstT3aIN
At a media briefing on Monday, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said Modi will attend the state funeral ceremony at Budokan, followed by a greeting occasion at Akasaka Palace, besides meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Abe's wife Akie.
"The visit will be an opportunity for PM Modi to honour the memory of former PM Abe, who he considered a dear friend and a great champion of India-Japan ties," he said.
India-Japan bilateral relationship
PM Modi, who is in Japan to attend the state funeral of Abe, met his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida ahead of the ceremony and the two leaders renewed their commitment towards further strengthening the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership, and in working together in the region and in various international groupings and institutions.
"The two leaders had a productive exchange of views on further deepening bilateral relations. They also discussed a number of regional and global issues," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a brief statement.
During the bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Modi conveyed his deepest condolences for the demise of Abe and noted his contributions in strengthening India-Japan partnership as well in conceptualising the vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
"I am feeling very sad about the sudden death of former premier Abe... He took Japan-India relations to a greater level and also expanded it in many areas," Modi, who shared a close friendship with the slain Japanese leader, said.
Modi recalled that when he visited Japan last time, he had a long conversation with Abe.
"India is missing Shinzo Abe," he added.
In the "Confluence of Two Seas" speech, Abe told Indian lawmakers that India-Japan relationship is blessed with the largest potential for development of bilateral relationships anywhere in the world.
Kwatra said Modi and Abe developed a personal bond through their meetings and interactions spanning over a decade, beginning with Modi's visit to Japan in 2007 as the chief minister of Gujarat.
"PM Abe made significant contributions to deepening India-Japan relations, turning a largely economic relationship into a broad, comprehensive, and strategic partnership, making it pivotal for the two countries' and region's security," Kwatra said.
"His famous 'Confluence of Two Seas' speech in the Indian Parliament in 2007 laid the ground for the emergence of the Indo-Pacific region as a contemporary political, strategic, and economic reality," he said.
The foreign secretary said Abe's contribution to India-Japan relations was recognised when India conferred on him the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award in 2021.
"Today, Japan is one of the most trusted and valued strategic partners of India. The two sides are committed to strengthening bilateral partnership on key areas of trade and investment, defence and security, climate change, health security, infrastructure, digital, industrial development, energy, critical and emerging technologies, and human resources, among others," Kwatra said.
Kwatra said there is deep convergence between India and Japan in the Indo-Pacific region.
"The bilateral meeting between PM Modi and PM Kishida during the upcoming visit will be an opportunity for the two leaders to reaffirm their commitment to further strengthening of India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership," he said.
Kishida visited India for the annual summit in March while Modi visited Japan for the Quad Leaders' Summit in May.
"These meetings underscored the two leaders' commitment towards deepening India-Japan ties, particularly in the context of shaping a post-pandemic regional and global order," Kwatra said.
Abe was shot dead while making a campaign speech on July 8 in the southern Japanese city of Nara.
India observed a one-day national mourning on July 9 as a mark of respect for Abe.
(With PTI Inputs)