Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives today in Gujarat where he will be hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Breaking tradition, the Japan PM will skip Delhi on his two-day official visit to India to participate in the 12th India-Japan Annual Summit at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar tomorrow.
* Immediately after Abe and his wife Akie touch down in Ahmedabad, they will accompany PM Modi on a first-of-its-kind 8-km roadshow that will wind its way from the airport to the city’s regional tax office. Along the way, the Abes and Modi will be treated to cultural performances from all parts of India.
* “On the entire route of the road show, which will also pass from Sabarmati Riverfront, we have erected 28 small stages where dancers from 28 different states, all dressed in their traditional attire, would showcase their performance when these leaders pass,” said an Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation officer.
* Following that, PM Modi will personally escort Abe to the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1930.
* The next halt will be at the Sidi Saiyad Mosque, a 16th century monument known for its stone lattice work. Both leaders will be shown a presentation about the city’s heritage on the occasion. Ahmedabad is India’s first Unesco World Heritage City.
* Modi and Abe will then dine at Ahmedabad’s iconic ‘Agashiye’ restaurant located near the mosque. Agashiye is a Gujarati ‘thali’ restaurant that’s spread over two huge terraces which are connected by a smaller one that houses a wooden cottage. The restaurant showcases Gujarati cuisne, of course, and is all vegetrian. Food here is served on a ‘kansa thali’, the restaurant says on it web site. ‘Kansa’ is an alloy that is spposed to have many wellness benefits.
* Tomorrow, the two leaders will lay the foundation stone for India’s first high-speed rail project – a bullet train – between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. It’s called the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project.
* The high speed train, with 10 cars and the capacity to accommodate 750 people, is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from seven to three hours. Later, the train will have 16 cars which will accommodate 1,200 people.
* Around Rs 1.10 lakh crore will be spent on the project, of which Rs 88,000 crore will be funded by a soft loan from Japan. The deadline of December 2023 may be brought forward to August 2022 when the country celebrates 75 years of Independence.
* Following the foundation stone laying event, the two leaders will hold the 12th Indo-Japan annual Summit meeting in Gandhinagar after which agreements will be exchanged. On the cards to be signed is a memorandum of understanding for the creation of the Japan-India Institute of Manufacturing, which will be jointly developed by the governments of Japan and Gujarat near Khoraj in Sanand.
* Later, an India-Japan business plenary meeting will be held. A total of 15 agreements will be signed for investments in Gujarat during the visit of the Japanese prime minister.