New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has paid rich tributes to his ‘friend’ and former Japan PM, Shinzo Abe and said the deceased leader had “transformed Japan’s strategic engagement” and also played a pivotal role in making the Indo-Pacific region “more optimistic about its destiny and the world more confident about its future”.
“….he (Abe) transformed Japan’s strategic engagement, including in defence, connectivity, infrastructure and sustainability, across the Indo Pacific region. For that, the region is more optimistic about its destiny and the world more confident about its future,” wrote Mr Modi in a blog.
“We in India mourn his passing as one of our own, just as he embraced us with an open heart. He died doing what he loved the most – inspiring his people. His life may have been cut short tragically, but his legacy will endure forever,” the Prime Minister wrote.
Separately a joint statement was issued by US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Anthony Albanese and Mr Modi mourning the sad demise of Shinzo Abe.
“We, the leaders of Australia, India, and the United States, are shocked at the tragic assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Prime Minister Abe was a transformative leader for Japan and for Japanese relations with each one of our countries. He also played a formative role in the founding of the Quad partnership, and worked tirelessly to advance a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the joint statement said.
“Our hearts are with the people of Japan — and Prime Minister Kishida— in this moment of grief. We will honor Prime Minister Abe’s memory by redoubling our work towards a peaceful and prosperous region,” it said.
In his personal blog, Mr Modi further wrote – “The Quad, the ASEAN-led forums, the Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure all benefited from his (Abe’s) contributions. Quietly and without fanfare, and overcoming hesitation at home and scepticism abroad, he transformed Japan’s strategic engagement”.
“During my Japan visit in May this year, I had the opportunity to meet Abe San, who had just taken over as the Chair of the Japan-India Association. He was his usual self – energetic, captivating, charismatic and very witty,” the Prime Minister writes.
“I first met him in 2007, during my visit to Japan as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Right from that first meeting, our friendship went beyond the trappings of office and the shackles of official protocol.
Our visit to Toji temple in Kyoto, our train journey on the Shinkansen, our visit to the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, the Ganga Aarati in Kashi, the elaborate tea ceremony in Tokyo, the list of our memorable interactions is indeed long. And, I will always cherish the singular honour of having been invited to his family home in Yamanashi prefecture, nestled
among the foothills of Mt. Fuji,” says Mr Modi in his emotional outburst.
The Government of India has decided that there will be one day’s State Mourning on July 9, Saturday, throughout India.
“The National Flag will be flown at half-mast on the day of mourning throughout India on all buildings where the National Flag is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment on the day,” an MEA statement said.