Even as camaraderie between the prime ministers of India
and Japan, Narendra Modi
and Shinzo Abe, was palpable as they went about meeting delegates in Gandhinagar, deliberating on bilateral cooperation, Abe’s wife, Akie Abe, too had an eventful day in Ahmedabad.
From meeting 10-year old origami prodigy Darsh Soni, who was born without a hand, at the Origami Mahotsav at the Ahmedabad
Management Association, she found time to visit the garden at the Sabarmati riverfront and did a tour of the Calico Museum of Textiles, known for its distinguished collection of Indian textiles.
Delivering a lecture on climate change at Gujarat
University and visiting the vocational training centre at the Blind People’s Association were all in a day’s work for her.
She had a quick lunch at the Japan
Information Centre (JIC), where she was served with a pure vegetarian fare comprising local dishes of fafda
, apart from an elaborate Indian fare.
Sources said she insisted on having a vegetarian meal because she did not wish to break the tradition (JIC serves only vegetarian food).
It will be a vegetarian dinner for Prime Minister Abe on Thursday at Science City. Gujarat
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is hosting a dinner for the visiting dignitary and it will be pretty much a Gujarati fare, from khaman dhoklas
to Gujarati kadi-khichdi
. Abe would be served mouth-watering Gujarati delicacies, apart from other Indian and international dishes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
along with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe
and his wife Akie Abe
witness the playing of the ‘Jal Tarang’, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat
on Wednesday. (Photo: PTI)
The Japanese premier’s Gujarat
visit has not been just a matter of partaking of culinary delights, it is also about recalling the past. Speaking to a crowd of thousands at the Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre, Abe recalled something his grandfather had shared with him. Abe’s grandfather had visited India
after World War II and was introduced to the crowd by Jawaharlal Nehru as being the representative of the country that he (Nehru) respected most. Abe said this remained a fond memory with his grandfather, who was representing a war-torn Japan
and he vowed to remain a friend of India
“This time when I visited Gujarat, my wife, our entire delegation and I were greeted by a cheering crowd of 50,000 people. This touched me, and just like my grandfather, I would like to remain a friend of India
forever,” Abe said to thunderous applause in the hall.
Apart from thanking him profusely for the bullet train project several times in the day, Modi
introduced Abe as a friend of India, “friend of Gujarat
and my personal friend”, and encouraged the crowd to give him a standing ovation.
He said, “Abe and I don’t miss any opportunity to meet. And this closeness and friendship have helped to further our bilateral relations.”
said when he had visited Japan
for the first time, he had dreamt of a “mini-Japan” in Gujarat
and “today” that dream had come true with several Japanese expats living and working in Gujarat.