Then Xi, now Abe: Ahmedabad gets ready to host Japanese PM
Ahmedabad is all decked up to host Japanese PM Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, the second Asian world leader after Chinese President Xi Jinping to be welcomed by PM Narendra Modi in Gujarat, in three years.
Xi was given a grand public reception back in 2014, the kind of which had not been extended to any Chinese leader since the two countries went to war in 1962 .
Officials were now attempting to ensure that the welcome programme they organise for Abe goes one step ahead of the one held for the Chinese leader.
Abe will begin his two-day visit with a roadshow — the first to be held by a foreign head of state in India — from the Ahmedabad airport to Sabarmati Ashram.
According to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, artistes from various states will perform on over 25 stages set up on the eight-km stretch of the roadshow.
After inviting Xi Jinping to the city in 2014, Modi has again set his own protocol by bringing another head of state directly to his home state. Unlike Xi, Abe will not visit Delhi and instead directly leave for Japan from Gujarat.
“The Japanese PM is landing here directly. This makes the occasion more important, as he is visiting the state on the very first day of his India visit,” said Jitu Vaghani, Gujarat BJP president.
Both the leaders will visit the historic Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in the old city area where they will be shown a presentation on the heritage of Ahmedabad.
Modi and Abe will dine at the restaurant Agashiye, which is part of heritage hotel House of Mangaldas. Officials said the two leaders will be served traditional all-vegetarian Gujarati cuisines.
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