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Home / India News / Japan PM Shinzo Abe may call off India trip amid protests in Assam over citizenship law: Report

Japan PM Shinzo Abe may call off India trip amid protests in Assam over citizenship law: Report

The cancellation would be a blow to Abe’s policy of cultivating ties with India to balance out China’s growing power in the region. Abe had been scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Assam, one of the regions where demonstrations have turned violent. The talks would have been the 16th between the two leaders.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2019 10:07 IST
Isabel Reynolds
Isabel Reynolds
Bloomberg
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering cancelling his trip to India scheduled to begin on Sunday, Japan’s Jiji Press reported.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering cancelling his trip to India scheduled to begin on Sunday, Japan’s Jiji Press reported.(REUTERS)
         

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering cancelling a trip to India that was to have started Sunday, Japan’s Jiji Press said, citing several government sources. The news came amid violent protests in the Northeast over a new citizenship law approved by Parliament.

The cancellation would be a blow to Abe’s policy of cultivating ties with India to balance out China’s growing power in the region. Abe had been scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Assam, one of the regions where demonstrations have turned violent. The talks would have been the 16th between the two leaders.

Other Japanese media were also reporting that the visit was called off with public broadcaster NHK saying that Abe had “decided to postpone” and a formal announcement would come later Friday.

ALSO WATCH | Internet suspended for 24 hours in Assam, Army deployed amid anti-CAB protests 

The new Citizenship Amendment Bill that was approved on Wednesday changed the rules governing the granting of citizenship to undocumented migrants to include religion as a criterion. It bars undocumented Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan from seeking citizenship, while allowing their counterparts from other religions to do so.

In recent days, angry protests have erupted in Assam with thousands clashing with police amid concerns the new laws may lead to an influx of migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. There have also been demonstrations in other northeastern states including Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Tripura, forcing the government to send in hundreds of soldiers to aid local police.

When asked whether the trip would go ahead, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said earlier Friday that there was a need to pay close attention to local conditions.