Thursday, August 18, 2022

India pays tributes to its ‘great friend’ Abe; state mourning today

India on Friday announced a day of mourning as a mark of respect to its “great friend” ex-Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, whom President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi described as a statesman and an outstanding leader.
“I find it difficult to believe that Shinzo Abe is no more. He was a great statesman, and his infectious affability endeared him the world over. That he fell prey to an assassin’s bullet is a tragedy for the whole humanity. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Japan,” President Kovind said on Twitter.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also said he was anguished by the demise of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“Mr Abe played a crucial role in strengthening India-Japan ties. My deepest condolences to his family members and the people of Japan,” he said on Twitter.
Modi recalled his personal association with Abe, whom he last met in May this year during his Japan visit, and said he was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator, who dedicated his life to making Japan and the world a better place. Describing Abe as his “dear friend”, Modi said as a mark of India’s deepest respect, one-day national mourning shall be observed on July 9. The national flag will be flown at half-mast throughout India on Saturday on all buildings where it is flown regularly.
In emotional posts on Twitter, Modi said that during his recent visit, he discussed many issues with Abe, but “little did I know that this would be our last meeting”. The Prime Minister said he was shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of his “dearest friends”.
Sharing a picture with Abe during his recent meeting in Tokyo, he said, “always passionate about strengthening India-Japan ties, he had just taken over as the Chairman of the Japan-India Association.”
Later at an event, Modi said, “Shinzo Abe was not only my friend but a trusted friend of India,” and added that during Abe’s regime, the India-Japan relationship touched new heights and carried forward a shared heritage. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh sent his condolences in a letter to the Japanese Ambassador in India Satoshi Suzuki. He also asked him to convey to members of Abe’s family and the people of Japan his deepest condolences on this sad occasion.
Home Minister Amit Shah and other union ministers also described Abe as India’s “valued friend” and said his efforts in strengthening the India-Japan relationship will always be held fondly in our memories.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also condoled Abe’s demise saying the world has lost a great leader. A host of Congress leaders also expressed shock over the assassination of Abe, whom party chief Sonia Gandhi described as a “great friend” of India and who did a lot to strengthen ties between the two nations.
“For many years, Abe was a great friend and well-wisher of India. He did much to expand and deepen the bilateral relationship between our two countries. I recall my meeting with him very fondly and vividly. It is a huge misfortune that has befallen Japan and indeed, the entire international community. He will be sorely missed,” she said in her condolence message.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi lauded his role in strengthening the strategic relationship between India and Japan.
“Deeply saddened by the demise of former PM of Japan, Shinzo Abe. His role in strengthening the strategic relationship between India and Japan was commendable. He leaves behind a lasting legacy in the Indo-Pacific. My condolences to his family and the people of Japan,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
Former minister P Chidambaram said Abe clearly had a profound admiration for India and its people. “He did his best to strengthen relations between the two countries. His death is tragic for the people of Japan and for the developing world,” he said.
Former Union minister Ashwani Kumar, who was ex-PM Manmohan Singh’s special envoy to Japan, said he was deeply disturbed and shattered over Abe’s demise.


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