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Shinzo Abe in India: Modi, Abe visits Sabarmati Aashram

Prime Minister Narendra Modi explains to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie about the concept of the ‘three wise monkeys’ of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on Wednesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on Wednesday.

Ever since Narendra Modi left Gujarat to become Prime Minister in 2014, the BJP was forced to appoint two chief ministers in a bid to retain its hold on the state.

Abe was presented a guard of honour at the airport, after which artistes performed the traditional Gujarati dance showcasing the state's rich cultural traditions.

After paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi's statue at the Sabarmati Ashram, they visited the iconic 16th-century mosque in the old city, Sidi Saiyad Mosque.

Prime Minister Modi had visited Japan in November previous year while Abe visited India in December 2015.

Senior government officials said Japan is increasingly becoming importance for Gujarat and India as a strategic economic partner as Japan has led FDI growth in Gujarat in recent years. Well, we know Japan is the discoverer in high sped rail networks. His wife has also come to India with Abe.

Crowd seen waving flags of both countries
Crowd seen waving flags of both countries

The two leaders got into an open-top Gypsy decorated with flowers.

The centrepiece of the Abe visit will be laying of the foundation stone for India's first bullet train, connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad on Thursday.

The two Prime Ministers will also visit Dandi Kutir, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, at the Mahatma Mandir. The nuclear pact, signed in November 2016, is expected to help foreign players build atomic power reactors in India with equipment from Japan.

In a gesture symbolising the growing ties between the two large Asiatic economies, Abe wore kurta-pyjama and a royal blue Nehru jacket while his wife donned a red salwar-kameez ensemble as they accompanied Modi on the road show from the airport to the Sabarmati Ashram.

Earlier on Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Ahmedabad on a two-day visit to India. The city has been decked up for his welcome, where he will lay the founding stone of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project along with his Indian counterpart. And Modi is also expected to finalize a long-gestating deal to purchase a dozen of Japan's US-2i amphibious aircraft, which India wants for patrols in the Indian Ocean (presumably to keep an eye on China's activity there). The dishes are likely to include some Japanese dishes in case the Japanese Prime Minister, his wife and other delegation members wish for a dish they are more familiar with.