New Delhi, Jan.25: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan here today.
Welcoming the Japanese Prime Minister, the President expressed happiness that the Prime Minister of Japan would be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade for the first time.
The President remembered Mr. Abe’s 2007 visit to India when he addressed the Parliament and said his speech still resonates in hearts of Indians.
He recalled that India’s first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru held Prime Minister Abe’s grandfather Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi in great respect.
It was Prime Minister Kishi who launched Japan’s official development assistance programme.
The President said India was privileged to receive recently the Emperor and Empress of Japan in their first ever state visit to India.
India attaches great importance to India-Japan relations and appreciates Prime Minister Abe’s view that India-Japan relations have the largest potential in any bilateral relations.
The President recalled that India was the largest recipient of Japan’s Overseas Development Assistance which has been invaluable for India’s efforts to upgrade her physical infrastructure.
Cooperation between India and Japan is important to ensure the security of sea lanes and uninterrupted flow of trade. India looks forward to working with Japan to expand and diversify trade to its full potential. The President expressed the hope that Mr. Abe’s visit will further enhance relations between the two countries in various fields.
Mr. Abe warmly reciprocated the President’s words and said this was the first visit of a Japanese Prime Minister to India in seven years. He was honoured to be invited to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade. He said the Emperor and Empress of Japan had visited India after 53 years. They were moved by the heart warming hospitality they received in India.
The Japanese Prime Minister said there has been steady progress in the strategic and global partnership between the two countries. Cooperation between the defence forces of the two countries will contribute to peace and security of the entire region. Over 1000 Japanese companies are already in India. He would like to see trade and investment develop further. He has therefore brought along with him a large business delegation. He also looks forward to developing exchanges in the academic field. (ANI)