Mr. Shinzo Abe’s untimely and tragic demise is a personal loss for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a series of Tweets he encapsulated his grief and sadness.
The former Japanese PM and Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a special bond, with their friendship going back years ago.
It was in 2007, when Shri Modi, as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, met Mr. Shinzo Abe for the first time, during his visit to Japan. Mr. Abe was then the Prime Minister of Japan. Displaying special gesture, Mr. Abe hosted Shri Modi and interacted with him on several aspects of development. Since then, the leaders have met each other on numerous occasions, which have not only strengthened ties between both countries but also developed an everlasting bond between them.
In 2012, Shri Modi paid a four-day visit to Japan as the CM of Gujarat. During this visit too, Shri Modi met Shinzo Abe, who was then the Opposition leader.
The interactions continued and ties between both the countries deepened, when in 2014, Shri Modi visited Kyoto in Japan for the first time as the Prime Minister of India. Showcasing the vibrancy of India-Japan relationship, Mr. Abe hosted a dinner for PM Modi. PM Abe had also expressed joy that PM Modi enjoyed the cultural heritage of Kyoto. Both the leaders together had visited the Toji Temple in Kyoto.
In yet another reflection of friendly equations between the two leaders, PM Abe hosted a special dinner for PM Modi in Brisbane during the G20 Summit in 2014.
He had also hosted a dinner for PM Modi at the Imperial Guest House in Kyoto during his five-day visit to Japan in 2014.
The Prime Minister reciprocated this warm and friendly gesture by hosting PM Abe for the iconic Ganga Aarti in Varanasi in 2015. They offered prayers, performed and witnessed the Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat.
Sharing his thoughts at a symposium, the Japanese Prime Minister quoted that the Ganga Aarti ceremony was “gorgeously showy within a solemn atmosphere.” PM Abe further added, “On the bank of the Mother River, as I allowed myself to become lost in the music and the rhythmic movement of the flames, I was dazzled at the bottomless depths of history connecting both ends of Asia. PM Abe avowed that Varanasi reminded him of ‘samasara’, a teaching the Japanese have also valued since ancient times.
In 2016, during another visit to Japan, PM Modi and PM Abe took a bullet train ride. They travelled from Tokyo to Kobe, on board the Shinkansen train.
In September 2017, PM Abe visited India. As a sign of friendship, PM Modi broke protocol to receive PM Shinzo Abe at Ahmedabad airport in 2017 when he arrived for the 12th India Japan Annual Summit. Immediately after the welcome ceremony, PM Abe, his wife, and PM Modi set-off on an 8-km roadshow in an open-roof jeep for the Sabarmati Ashram to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. Later they visited the Sidi Saiyyed's Mosque as well as Dandi Kuteer.
A historic moment followed, when both the leaders jointly laid foundation stone for India’s first high-speed rail project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. PM Modi expressed his gratitude to PM Abe for the technical and financial support for the project.
Come 2018, PM Abe hosted PM Modi at the picturesque Yamanashi Prefecture. Not only this, he had hosted PM Modi at his personal home near Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi.
Both the leaders also visited the FANUC Corporation in Japan, which is one of the largest makers of industrial robots in the world in Yamanashi. The leaders toured the robotics and automation facilities.
In 2019, in a span of just four months, they met thrice in Osaka (during G20 Summit), in Vladivostok (during the Eastern Economic Forum) and Bangkok (on the margins of India-ASEAN and East Asia Summit).
In mid-2020, when due to illness, Mr. Abe stepped down as the Prime Minister of Japan, PM Modi even wished him a speedy recovery. To this, Mr. Abe had said that he was deeply touched by PM Modi’s gesture and had thanked him for his “warm words.”
Pained to hear about your ill health, my dear friend @AbeShinzo. In recent years, with your wise leadership and personal commitment, the India-Japan partnership has become deeper and stronger than ever before. I wish and pray for your speedy recovery. pic.twitter.com/JjziLay2gD— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 28, 2020
Recently, even during PM Modi’s trip to Japan for the Quad Summit, PM Modi once again met former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where they discussed the broad canvas of India-Japan partnership as well as furthering cultural and people-to-people-ties between both our countries.