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Politics

Abe hosts Modi at private villa, reaffirming Indo-Pacific ties

Japanese leader hopes to boost Mt. Fuji's appeal among Indian tourists

Abe invites Modi to a private dinner at his villa near Mt. Fuji.(Courtesy of the Cabinet Office)   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Sunday affirmed cooperation on both economic and security fronts to realize an open and free Indo-Pacific region.

Abe hosted a private dinner at his villa near Mt. Fuji, rounding out a day of talks that began at a hotel overlooking Lake Yamanaka. Modi's latest visit marks his third to Japan as prime minister and his 12th summit with Abe.

India serves as a key partner for Japan in Abe's Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, which seeks to maintain freedom of navigation and the rule of law in vital sea lanes for trade between Asia and Africa.

Earlier in the day, the leaders had lunch at the Hotel Mt. Fuji. In addition to discussing geopolitical issues and  bilateral cooperation, Abe and Modi also agreed to work together toward North Korean nuclear disarmament. In addition, Abe briefed Modi on his visit to China last week, which wrapped up on Saturday.

At Abe's holiday home in Narusawa, in the foothills of Mt. Fuji, the two leaders held a one-on-one dinner accompanied only by interpreters. Never before had the prime minister invited a foreign leader to the villa, according Japan's Foreign Ministry. Abe also made a pitch for Indian tourism to the Mt. Fuji area, noting that the mountain is not always clouded over as it was during the two leaders' visit.

The gesture was a token of gratitude for the welcome he received from Modi in the Indian leader's hometown in Gujarat last year, according to the Japanese side. Modi departs Japan on Monday.

Against a backdrop of China's maritime expansion, Japan and India have been strengthening strategic cooperation as half of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, an informal grouping of maritime powers that includes the U.S. and Australia.

While in the Mt. Fuji area, the two leaders also visited a factory run by industrial robot supplier Fanuc, the world's top maker of numerical controls for machine tools. Abe hopes to promote exports of Japanese technology to Asia's fastest-growing major economy, which Modi envisions turning into a hub for manufacturing under his Make in India policy.

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