Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he is still planning to visit India next week, according to Bloomberg as a Japanese media report said he may consider canceling the visit amid violent protests in the northeast over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. On Thursday, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and the country’s Home Minister called off their visits to India amid the agitations in the northeast.
Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was scheduled to visit Meghalaya for an event today.
Guwahati, the planned venue for a three-day summit between Mr. Abe and PM Modi, has been engulfed in violent protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Japan’s Jiji Press had earlier reported that Mr. Abe is considering canceling his trip to India scheduled to begin on Sunday.
Assam has been witnessing massive protests in the last two days with thousands of people hitting the streets defying prohibitory orders to demand to scrap of the Act. On Wednesday, protesters pulled down hoardings erected in central Guwahati to welcome Mr Abe.
“The Japanese and the Indian governments continue to explore the last possibility,” the Japanese report said.
“We don’t have any update to share,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday at a weekly media briefing in New Delhi.
Last week, Mr. Kumar had announced that the summit between PM Modi and Mr. Abe will take place between December 15 and 17. Though the government has not announced the venue for the summit, preparations were underway to host it in Guwahati. Asked whether the government is contemplating shifting the venue, Mr. Kumar said: “I am not in a position to clarify on it. I have no updates to offer.”
A Japanese team visited Guwahati on Wednesday to take stock of the preparations, news agency PTI reported, quoting sources.
Last year, Japan hosted the summit in the picturesque Yamanashi prefecture during which both sides had resolved to significantly expand bilateral cooperation in a range of areas.
Two protesters were killed and many others injured on Thursday in police firing in Guwahati – Assam’s largest city – amid the raging agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
India and Japan had held their inaugural foreign and defense ministerial dialogue two weeks ago, preparing the ground for the PM Modi-Shinzo Abe summit.
The India-Japan defense and foreign ministerial dialogue took place following a decision taken by PM Modi and Mr. Abe during last year’s annual summit.
(With inputs from ndtv)