Modi, Abe bon­homie on dis­play at 8-km road show

Millennium Post - - FRONT PAGE -

AHMED­ABAD: Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe ar­rived here on Wednesday on a two-day visit with a packed agenda that in­cludes the lay­ing of foun­da­tion stone for In­dia’s first bul­let train project be­tween Ahmed­abad and Mumbai.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi re­ceived Abe, who is ac­com­pa­nied by his wife Akie, with his char­ac­ter­is­tic hug at the air­port on Wednesday af­ter­noon.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the wel­come cer­e­mony, Abe, his wife, and Modi set-off on an 8-km road­show in an open-roof jeep for the Sabar­mati Ashram where the apos­tle of peace Ma­hatma Gandhi spent a con­sid­er­able part of his life.

Abe, who was in a for­mal suit when he ar­rived at the Ahmed­abad air­port, wore kur­tapy­jama and a blue Nehru jacket, while his wife donned red sal­war-kameez and a white stole to Sabar­mati Ashram.

The two lead­ers re­peat­edly waved to the crowds that lined up the streets as per­form­ers pre­sented tra­di­tional dance en route.

At the Sabar­mati Ashram set up by Ma­hatma Gandhi, Abe and his wife paid homage to the Fa­ther of the Na­tion.

Modi was seen ex­plain­ing to the vis­it­ing dig­ni­taries the sig­nif­i­cance of the spin­ning wheel, which be­came em­blem­atic of In­dia’s quest for self-re­liance dur­ing its non- vi­o­lent strug­gle for free­dom from im­pe­rial rule.

It was for the first time that Modi held a joint road show with a vis­it­ing head of govern­ment of a for­eign coun­try, re­flect­ing the close bon­homie with Abe.

The road show, which be­gan from Ahmed­abad air­port ended at the Sabar­mati Ashram af­ter travers­ing nearly eight kilo­me­tres.

On Thurs­day Abe and Modi will lay the foun­da­tion stone for the high-speed train project be­tween Ahmed­abad and Mumbai which is ex­pected to be com­pleted by 2022. The train would cover the dis­tance of over 500 km in around two hours.

Ja­pan has ex­tended a soft loan for the am­bi­tious project con­cep­tu­alised by Modi.

The two lead­ers will hold the 12th In­doJa­pan an­nual Sum­mit meet­ing at Gand­hi­na­gar af­ter which agree­ments will be ex­changed. Later, an In­dia-ja­pan busi­ness ple­nary meet­ing will be held. Fifteen agree­ments will be signed for in­vest­ments in Gujarat dur­ing the visit of the Ja­panese prime min­is­ter, Gujarat chief sec­re­tary J N Singh had said on Tues­day.

Abe’s spouse will be vis­it­ing a num­ber of places in­clud­ing an NGO — Blind Peo­ple’s As­so­ci­a­tion. Modi had hosted Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his wife in Ahmed­abad in his home state Gujarat in September 2014.

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