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On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe exchanged warm messages on Twitter, the Ministry of External Affairs has said the upcoming visit to Japan is one with “great expectations”.
Just two days before he flies to Tokyo, Modi on Thursday tweeted in Japanese that he was “excited” to meet Abe, and that he “deeply respects his leadership and enjoys a warm relationship with him”. Abe responded, also in a tweet, “India has a special place in my heart. I am eagerly waiting for your arrival in Kyoto this weekend. Your first visit to Japan as Indian PM will add a new chapter to our strategic partnership.”
“Together we can do a lot for peace and prosperity in the world,” said Abe, who follows three people, including Modi on Twitter. As a special gesture, Abe will receive Modi in Kyoto on his arrival. Modi will arrive on Saturday on the first leg of his tour to study how the example of a Japanese city could be replicated in India.
Explaining why Modi chose Kyoto as his first stopover, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said Kyoto, known in local parlance as a ‘smart city’, is an example of cultural tradition and modernity, dovetailing Modi’s own vision of building 100 smart cities in the country.
On his first bilateral visit outside the subcontinent, Modi will have an “extremely substantive” agenda amid “great expectations” of the strategic and global partnership being taken to a new level.
Defence and civil nuclear sectors are expected to dominate the discussions, and if negotiations are completed, agreements may be signed on these sectors. On the nuclear deal, the MEA spokesperson said the ongoing talks in the last four years have “yielded substantive results” lately. Akbaruddin said Japan figures prominently among the countries from where help could be taken to build next-generation infrastructure. The issue of Japan helping India to have bullet trains will also be discussed.
Kyoto provides special symbolism to the visit as Modi has the vision of “rejuvenating” Indian cities, Akbaruddin said, adding that talks are underway to see how the example of Kyoto can be replicated in Varanasi.