Tokyo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida here and conveyed his deepest condolences over the sudden demise of former prime minister Shinzo Abe as he underlined the late Japanese leader’s contributions in strengthening the bilateral partnership as well as his vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

Modi, who is here to attend the state funeral of Abe, met Kishida ahead of the ceremony and the two leaders renewed their commitment towards further strengthening the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership, and in working together in the region and in various international groupings and institutions.

“The two leaders had a productive exchange of views on further deepening bilateral relations. They also discussed a number of regional and global issues,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a brief statement.

During the bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Modi conveyed his deepest condolences for the demise of Abe and noted his contributions in strengthening India-Japan partnership as well in conceptualising the vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

“I am feeling very sad about the sudden death of former premier Abe… He took Japan-India relations to a greater level and also expanded it in many areas,” Modi, who shared a close friendship with the slain Japanese leader, said.

Modi recalled that when he visited Japan last time, he had a long conversation with Abe.

“India is missing Shinzo Abe,” he added.

Abe, 67, was shot dead while making a campaign speech on July 8 in the southern Japanese city of Nara.

“I am confident that under your leadership, India-Japan relations will deepen further and achieve greater heights,” Modi told Kishida.

On his part, Kishida thanked Prime Minister Modi for taking India-Japan ties to new heights and assured that he will continue to cooperate with him to realise the vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

Kishida visited India for the annual summit in March while Modi visited Japan for the Quad Leaders’ Summit in May.

“These meetings underscored the two leaders’ commitment towards deepening India-Japan ties, particularly in the context of shaping a post-pandemic regional and global order,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Monday ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan.

Kwatra said there is deep convergence between India and Japan in the Indo-Pacific region.

Representatives from over 100 countries, including more than 20 heads of state and governments, are expected to attend Abe’s funeral on Tuesday.

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