Modi, PM Abe visit Sabarmati ashram, pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi

Violet Powell
September 14, 2017

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, his wife Akie Abe and PM Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad.

Japanese PM Abe was accorded a ceremonial reception on his arrival at the Ahmedabad Airport, on Wednesday.

Abe will be flying to India for two-days annual India-Japan Summit with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

On September 14, Abe and Modi will attend the ground breaking ceremony for the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project, commonly referred to as the Bullet Train project. The project, scheduled to be completed on December 2023 is expected to reduce the travel distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to around two hours from the existing 7 hours.

"Love and Thanks", Abe wrote in a short message in Japanese on the visitors' register which was also signed by his wife.

Abe and the first lady then took a round of different wings of the Ashram, where Gandhi lived for about 12 years with his wife Kasturba, guiding the non-violent struggle for freedom from colonial rule.

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Later that day, both the premiers will hold the 12th India-Japan annual summit at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.

The first Japan-India vice ministerial-level two-plus-two meeting took place in July 2010 in New Delhi and the most recent fourth talks were held in March in Tokyo.

The two countries are also expected to sign multiple economic deals and launch projects, including Suzuki vehicle manufacturing plant at Hansalpur.

The bullet train will initially have 10 cars and a capacity to accommodate 750 people, which will be increased to 16 cars with a capacity to accommodate 1,200 passengers later. Ahmedabad is Modi's home ground and by getting his "friend" Abe to visit the city and create headlines along with him, the PM would like that to work towards enhancing his image as a world leader, with incidental benefits for his party.

With Japan's keen interest to scale-up its partnership in key flagship projects like Make in India, Skill India and the Clean Ganga Mission, India is expected to be benefitted from Japanese technology in several sectors. There are discussions going on. and we hope that there will be concrete development in that area (during the bilateral talks),” said Verma during the media briefing ahead of the Japanese Prime Ministers visit. The eight-kilometer long road show started from the Ahmedabad airport and culminated at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram.

There is also a dinner arrangement at 'Agashiye' restaurant located near the mosque.

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