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'My Dear Friend Shinzo Abe...': Modi Pens Tribute to Assassinated Ex-Japan PM

"I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture."

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi penned a memoir of his relationship with former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, hours after the latter was assassinated during a public event in Nara on Friday, 8 July.

Modi had tweeted his prayers for Abe's recovery soon after he had been shot, and had later expressed his condolences over Abe's death – saying he was "shocked and saddened beyond words."

In a tribute published on his blog late on Friday night, PM Modi remembered the time he had spent with Abe, including his visit to the Japanese leader's home. The piece been translated from Hindi and republished here in full:

Shinzo Abe was not only a great figure in Japan, but also a global statesman with a huge personality. He was a great supporter of Indo-Japanese friendship. It is very sad that he is no longer with us. In his untimely departure, while Japan along with the whole world has lost a great visionary leader, I have lost a dear friend of mine….

"I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture."

I am remembering every moment spent with him today. Whether it was a visit to the 'Tozi Temple' in Kyoto, the joy of traveling together in the Shinkasen, the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, the spiritual occasion of Ganga Aarti in Kashi, or the 'Tea Ceremony' of Tokyo, there were some memorable moments. The list is very long.

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    (Photo Courtesy: Narendra Modi's blog)

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    (Photo Courtesy: Narendra Modi's blog)

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    (Photo Courtesy: Narendra Modi's blog)

I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture at the foot of Mount Fuji. I will always cherish this honour in my heart.

"I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture."
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Shinzo Abe and I didn't have just a formal relationship. Between 2007 and 2012 and then again after 2020, when he was not the prime minister, our personal bond remained as strong as ever.

Meeting Abe san was always very informative and encouraging for me. He always had a stock of new ideas. Their scope ranged from governance and economy to culture and foreign policy. He had a deep understanding of all these issues.

"I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture."

His counsel inspired me in my economic choices for Gujarat. Not only this, our continuous cooperation gave great strength to the vibrant partnership between Gujarat and Japan.

Later on, it was my privilege to work with him to bring about an unprecedented transformation of the strategic partnership between India and Japan.

"I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture."

Earlier, when the mutual relations between the two countries were limited only to economic relations, Abe san helped turn it into a broad, comprehensive partnership, which not only covered every field of national interest, but became pivotal for our two countries’ and the region’s security.

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He believed that the strengthening of mutual relations between India and Japan was in the interest of not only the people of both the countries, but the whole world. He was resolute in pursuing the civil nuclear agreement with India – a most difficult one for his country – and decisive in offering the most generous terms for the High Speed Rail in India.

As in most important milestones in independent India’s journey, he ensured that Japan is there beside it as New India accelerates its growth.

He made a historic contribution in strengthening India-Japan relations, for which he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in the year 2021.

"I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture."
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Abe san had a keen understanding of the turmoil and rapid changes taking place around the world. He was full of foresight and this was the reason why he was able to foresee the impact of global developments on political, social, economic, and international relations.

He was admired for his wisdom, his understanding of which choices to make, what clear and bold decisions to make, whether it was a matter of compromise or taking his people and the world along. His far-reaching policies – Abenomics – re-strengthened the Japanese economy and re-energised the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among the people of his country.

The whole world will forever be indebted to him for the strong legacy he has left for us. He not only recognised the changing circumstances in the whole world at the right time, but also gave solutions accordingly under his leadership.

In his 2007 address to the Indian Parliament, he laid the foundation for the rise of the Indo-Pacific region, as well as presented a vision of how this region is going to give a new shape to the world politically, strategically, and economically in this century.

"I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture."
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Along with this, he was also at the forefront in preparing its outline. He adopted a vision of a peaceful and prosperous future with stability and security in which he firmly believed. It was based on values ​​in which sovereignty and territorial integrity were paramount. It also emphasised on international law and order and peaceful global relations on an equal footing. It had an opportunity to open doors of prosperity to everyone by promoting economic activities.

Be it the Quad or the ASEAN-led forum, the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative or the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor or the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, all these organisations have benefited from their contributions. In the Indo-Pacific region, he has worked to revolutionise Japan's strategic engagement, including defence, connectivity, infrastructure and sustainability, in a peaceful manner, leaving behind domestic challenges and doubts from around the world. Due to his efforts, this whole region is very optimistic today and the whole world is more confident about its future.

"I will never forget the moment I had the opportunity to visit his home in the beautiful Yamanashi Prefecture."
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I had the opportunity to meet Abe san during my visit to Japan in May of this year. He took over as the President of the Japan-India Association at the same time. Even at that time, he was as enthusiastic about his work as before, charming all with his charismatic personality. He had many new ideas to further strengthen India and Japan's friendship. When I went out to meet him that day, I could never have imagined that this would be our last meeting.

He will always be greatly remembered for his affinity, intelligence, seriousness of personality, simplicity, friendliness, his suggestions, and his guidance.

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.

On behalf of the people of India and on my behalf, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the people of Japan, especially to Mrs Aki Abe and her family.

Om Shanti!

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