Yamanasi/New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held informal talks at a picturesque resort near Mount Fuji and visited a robot manufacturing factory on Sunday as they spent about eight hours together on the first-day of a two-day summit.
On Monday, the two Prime Ministers are expected to discuss bilateral issues, including defence and regional security. Regional and global issues, including the situation in the Indo-Pacific region where China is expanding its influence, are also likely to come up during the talks.
Mr Modi, who arrived in Japan on Saturday evening to attend the 13th India-Japan annual summit, has said the partnership between the two countries has been fundamentally transformed to one that is a “special strategic and global partnership”. In a message published in Indian newspapers on Sunday, Mr Abe said he will be a “friend of India for life” and described Prime Minister Modi as “one of my most dependable and valuable friends”.
He recalled that the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit India was his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi in 1957. “Engraving the history in my heart, I have devoted myself to nurturing this friendship with India,” Mr Abe said in his article.
The two-day summit that began on Sunday seeks to review the progress in ties and deepen strategic dimensions of the bilateral relationship. Mr Modi and Mr Abe will hold a formal meeting on Monday in Tokyo, during which strengthening bilateral security and economic cooperation is expected to be high on the agenda.
Mr Modi was affectionately received by Mr Abe on his arrival at Hotel Mount Fuji in the Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo.
“Delighted to meet PM @AbeShinzo in the picturesque prefecture of Yamanashi,” Mr Modi tweeted.
The two leaders took a stroll in the garden following which Mr Abe hosted a luncheon for Mr Modi at the scenic resort by Mount Fuji.
Mr Modi presented Mr Abe two handcrafted stone bowls and dhurries made from rose quartz and yellow quartz stone sourced from Rajasthan. A Jodhpuri wooden chest from Rajasthan with traditional work was also presented.
After luncheon, both Prime Ministers visited the FANUC industrial facility, which specialises in automation.
“Taking our cooperation to modern and advanced technologies. PM@narendramodi and PM@AbeShinzo visited the FANUC Corporation, one of the largest makers of industrial robots in the world in #Yamanashi, and toured the robotics and automation facilities,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
In the evening, Mr Abe in a special gesture hosted Mr Modi at his personal villa near Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi for a private dinner.
It is the first time that Mr 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. I am truly honoured by this gesture. PM Abe also taught me the Japanese way of eating food using chopsticks!” Mr Modi tweeted.