“You are the seniormost, sometimes a mentor-like leader I can still call my dear friend,” Prime minster Shinzo Abe told Manmohan Singh at the banquet hosted in his honour on Wednesday. There was no dearth of warmth and personal chemistry between the two leaders who together launched the India, Japan strategic and global partnership in 2006.
Abe made two more trips to India since then — as prime minister in 2007 and as a former prime minister in 2011. This is Singh’s fifth visit to Japan as the prime minister and he first visited the country in 1971.
The Japanese prime minister recalled his visit to India in September 2011 when Singh despite being ready to leave for the UN general assembly session had a meeting with him for “longer than planned”. And, Abe will be visiting India again soon.
Abe praised Singh for his “hallmark calmness”. In a rare gesture, he also hosted a private lunch for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife.