Millennium Post

Japanese PM Abe vows to be a 'friend of India for life'

Yamanashi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held informal talks at a picturesque resort near Mount Fuji and visited a factory of industrial robot manufacturer on Sunday as they spent about eight hours together on the first day of a two-day summit.

Modi, who arrived in Japan Saturday evening to attend the 13th India-Japan annual summit said the partnership between the two countries had been fundamentally transformed, and it has been strengthened as a 'special strategic and global partnership'.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Sunday said he would be a "friend of India for life".

In a message published in Indian newspapers on the day Abe hosted Modi at his holiday home in the picturesque Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo, he recalled that the first Japanese prime minister to visit India was his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi in 1957.

The two-day summit beginning Sunday will seek to review the progress in ties and deepen strategic dimension of the bilateral relationship.

Modi was affectionately received by Abe on his arrival at the Hotel Mount Fuji in the scenic Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo.

"Delighted to meet PM @AbeShinzo in the picturesque prefecture of Yamanashi," Modi tweeted.

The two leaders "would be holding talks through the day on deepening India-Japan ties," Prime Minister Modi's office said.

Later in the evening, Abe in a unique gesture hosted Modi at his personal villa near Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi for a private dinner.

It is the first time that Abe has invited a foreign political leader to his holiday home in the village of Narusawa in the prefecture.

"Extremely grateful to PM @AbeShinzo for the warm reception at his home. This gesture truly honours me. PM Abe also taught me the Japanese way of eating food using chopsticks!" Modi tweeted.

After the dinner, the two leaders left for Tokyo by train. They will hold a formal summit Monday in Tokyo, during which strengthening bilateral security and economic cooperation are expected to be high on the agenda.

with PTI inputs

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