New Delhi, Sep 26 (EFE).- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Monday that he was setting off for Japan to attend the state funeral of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in a visit that would include a brief meeting with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida to boost bilateral ties.
“I am traveling to Tokyo tonight to participate in the State Funeral of former PM Shinzo Abe, a dear friend and a great champion of India-Japan friendship,” Modi tweeted on Monday.
He said he would be offering “heartfelt condolences to Prime Minister Kishida and Mrs. Abe on behalf of all Indians.”
Abe had been assassinated in July while addressing a campaign meeting on the street.
In the day-long visit to Tokyo, the Indian PM will also seek to strengthen ties with Japan.
“The bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Kishida during the upcoming visit will be an opportunity for the two leaders to reaffirm their commitment, to further strengthening of India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership,” Indian foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said in a press conference on Monday.
Kwatra highlighted the “personal bond of trust and friendship” between Modi and Abe, and said the brief bilateral meeting would help in a quick overview and assessment of bilateral ties.
Around 4,300 people, including 700 representatives from 217 countries and international organizations, are set to attend the state funeral on Tuesday, which will be held amid strict security measures amid protest calls over the exorbitant budget for the event.
The high-profile guest list includes United States’ vice president Kamala Harris, European Council President Charles Michel and Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero.
Japan and India have reinforced bilateral ties in recent years in the backdrop of China’s military overtures, as both Tokyo and New Delhi are involved in territorial disputes with Beijing, as part of growing tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.
Both countries are also part of the Quad alliance – a multilateral defense framework which seeks to counter China’s growing influence in the region – along with Australia and the US.
The Quad had held its latest summit in Tokyo in May. EFE