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The Ganga Aarti ceremony was gorgeously showy within a solemn atmosphere: Japan PM Shinzo Abe
Varanasi reminds me of samsara, a teaching the Japanese have also valued since ancient times: Shinzo Abe
Japanese PM expresses his part of content on the flourishing trade and investment with India
Shinzo Abe appreciates India’s efforts in maintaining peace and prosperity in Asia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visited Varanasi on December 12, 2015. Both the leaders 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. He also mentioned about how teachings of Gautama Buddha had spread from India to Japan and exists between both countries as a ‘sutra’.

The Japanese PM expressed his part of content on the flourishing trade and investment with India. He appreciated India’s efforts in maintaining peace and prosperity in Asia.

Below is the excerpt of Japanese PM's speech at the“Shared Values and Democracy in Asia” Symposium:

On the bank of the “Mother Ganges” River

It was a little more than a month ago while I was visiting India that Prime Minister Modi kindly took me to Varanasi. There I experienced with him a Ganga Aarti ceremony, which began just as dusk fell and was gorgeously showy within a solemn atmosphere.

I knew that Varanasi was among the most sacred places, and while observing the ceremony, one thought after another struck me.

A feeling of respect for the flow of water... that is something we Japanese need no explanation to grasp. I might also add that this is why the Government of Japan has for a long time lent a helping hand in the remediation of the River Ganges.

Varanasi also reminded me of samsara, a teaching the Japanese have also valued since ancient times. People are born and ultimately die and transform into something else, and that is precisely why we must live treasuring the present. Somehow, we have been thinking that way.

Though I could not make it during my last trip, I knew that nearby was the place where the Buddha bestowed his very first teachings to his followers.

He told them to venture forth for the gain of many. This teaching spread to far-off Japan and lives on today as a sutra.

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.

Be it loving kindness, benevolence, fraternity, or harmony, I believe that in Asia, there extends an underground rootstock of thinking that supports democracy and values freedom and human rights.

From there, a beautiful and large-blossomed lotus flower is now coming into bloom. Coupled with increasingly flourishing trade and investment, it is bringing peace and prosperity to Asia. If this is not something for us to rejoice about, then I must ask, what on earth is?

At the beginning of a new year, as we unmistakably feel the curtain lifting on a new era for Asia, an era in which we make freedom, human rights, and democracy our own and respect the rule of law, Japan reaffirms its determination to continue to be a member of Asia that you can count on. With that resolve, I conclude my remarks.

Read full speech - https://japan.kantei.go.jp/97_abe/statement/201601/1215564_10999.html

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State Visit of Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa (July 23-27, 2018)
July 23, 2018
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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, will pay a State Visit to Republic of Rwanda (23-24 July), Republic of Uganda (24-25 July) and Republic of South Africa (25-27 July). This will be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Rwanda and the first visit by our Prime Minister to Uganda in over 20 years. The visit to South Africa is in the context of BRICS Summit.

Prime Minister’s official engagement in Rwanda and Uganda include bilateral meetings with the Presidents, delegation level talks and meetings with the business and the Indian communities. In Rwanda, Prime Minister will visit the Genocide Memorial and participate in an event on "Girinka” (one cow per family), a national social protection scheme of Rwanda personally initiated by President Paul Kagame. In Uganda, Prime Minister will deliver a Keynote address at the Parliament of Uganda – the first Indian Prime Minister to address the Ugandan Parliament.

In South Africa, the Prime Minister will have bilateral meeting with the South African President and will attend the BRICS Summit and other BRICS related meetings. Bilateral meetings with participating countries on the sidelines of BRICS meetings are also planned.

India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Africa which are cemented by robust development partnership and a large presence of the Indian Diaspora. A number of agreements and MoUs in the areas of Defence, trade, culture, Agriculture and Dairy cooperation are scheduled to be signed during the visit.

Over the last few years, there has been a significant intensification of our engagement in various fields with African countries and there have been as many as 23 outgoing visits to Africa at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister in the last four years. Africa has been the top priority of India’s Foreign Policy. The visit of Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent.