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Salutes to Shinzo Abe; The all-time Pal of India

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Dr. Vedapratap Vaidik

The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stunned the entire globe. It is unprecedented; leaders from across the world have expressed their grief and anguish in the dastardly killing of their dear friend with heavy hearts.   To express heartache over the untimely death of their dear friend India is observing this Saturday as a national day of mourning.  This is not the first incident of assassination of a Prime Minister, President or other dignitaries in the world, but India’s reaction to Abe’s killing was so uniquely touching.

 There are many reasons for India becoming emotional. Hitherto, Abe is the only Japanese Prime Minister to visit India four times. His grandfather Nobushuke Kishi had visited India as Prime Minister of Japan in 1957 at the invitation of then Prime Minister Nehru.

We may recall, it was Abe who christened the Far East or East Asia region as the Indo-Pacific.  During his visit to India in 2007, while addressing our parliament he referred to the East Asia region as the Indo-Pacific. When Abe was reelected as Prime Minister he took the initiative to establish the concept of Indo-Pacific and it became a success. In fact Abe is the prime architect of the quadrangle-America, India, Japan and Australia.

 During Abe’s regime strategic and cultural ties between India and Japan flourished with fragrance like. Our bilateral relations recorded unprecedented warmth and vigor during his time. In fact our relations with Japan were never strained on any count. But there were certain unexplained hurdles that hindered the smooth flow and Abe cleared all such hitches to bake the bilateral relations evergreen.     

Japan was an active member of the American bloc during the Cold War era and India was considered an informal ally of the Soviet bloc.  The credit goes to Shinzo Abe for setting our bilateral relations in the right direction.

India’s relations with Japan is gaining more momentum and becoming increasingly cozy. Investment from Japanese corporate companies in India has registered manifold growth in recent years. With the cooperation of Japan, India is gearing up to build high-speed trains. The relationship between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abe had been so close and personal to the extent that both the leaders visited their respective friendly nations multiple times.  Abe was simply wonderfully unique as a person and also as the Prime Minister of Japan. Many relishing memories of this amazing leader of our dear friend Japan.

Abe’s grandfather was the Prime Minister of Japan and his father was the Foreign Minister. Abe himself was elected twice as Prime Minister of that country. He served as the Prime Minister for the first term from 2006 to 2007 and for the second time from 2012 to 2020. He was the first Japanese leader to hold this position for so long.

Abe sincerely desired to transform Japan into a truly independent and sovereign nation. It was Abe who made efforts to break the restrictions imposed on Japan by Allied forces post World War II and bring changes in the constitution to make his country’s armed forces free.  Though Abe could not completely accomplish the goal, he could open many new avenues of military cooperation with other nations. He also wanted to set right Japan’s relations with Russia which went wrong in 1904.  Abe had also formulated an effective front against the Chinese aggression, but at the same time he was successful in maintaining relations with China from within the limits.

My heartfelt farewell to this evergreen friend of India!

*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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