AHMEDABAD: The bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe was on full display Wednesday as the two leaders held an eight-kilometre road show in Ahmedabad during which Abe donned a ‘kurta pyjama’ along with a ‘Nehru jacket’.
Modi received the Japanese PM at the Ahmedabad airport with a tight hug during the latter’s two day India visit. Thereafter, they ditched a cavalcade of swanky luxury cars and opted for a Maruti Gypsy for the road show en route to the Sabarmati Ashram.
Perhaps returning the warmth shown by Modi, Abe decided to give up his black suit for the road show. He was, however, not alone as his wife Akie too decided to wear an Indian attire. It was probably the first time Modi held a joint road show with a visiting head of government. The road show, designed to showcase India’s cultural diversity, saw artistes from several states performing on 28 stages erected along the roads.
Later at the Sabarmati Ashram, the two leaders paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi. Modi was seen explaining the significance of ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel) to the guests. Subsequently, the two leaders visited the famous ‘Sidi Saiyyed Mosque’ — a 16th-century yellow sandstone mosque and a symbol of a time when Gujarat was under Muslim rule. The mosque was built in 1573 under the regime of the last Sultanate of Gujarat.
The day’s programme ended with a dinner at Ahmedabad’s famous Agashiye rooftop restaurant, where Modi hosted Abe and his wife. The welcome accorded to the Japanese PM is significant in light of recent strain in the India-China relationship. Besides, Japan is considered an all-weather friend by India. Japan has heavily invested in India’s infrastructural development.
Abe will attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project Thursday. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the function.
Indo-Japan annual summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will hold the 12th Indo-Japan annual summit meeting at Gandhinagar Thursday after which agreements will be exchanged. Later, an India-Japan business plenary meeting will be held.