Shinzo Abe, whose tenure has seen bilateral ties grow in strength and depth and whose strategic vision has left a deep imprint on the world stage.
A charismatic leader, who was the first Japanese prime minister born after World War II, Abe left a lasting economic legacy in Japan that became famous as “Abenomics”.
Abe visited India on his first trip and addressed parliament. His fondness for India is reflected in his visits, the most by any Japanese prime minister.
In 2014, he became the first Japanese prime minister to be the main guest in the Republic Day parade. He also visited India in December 2015 and September 2017 and accelerated the pace of bilateral relations.
Abe’s famous speech on the “confluence of the two seas”, which he delivered during his first visit to India as prime minister, laid the foundation for his concept of the Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abe shared a personal chemistry and had an apparent convergence of views. The bilateral relationship was upgraded to a special strategic and global partnership in 2014. It was under Abe’s leadership that India and Japan finally decided to sign the civilian nuclear pact in 2016.
Prime Minister Modi called him a dear friend. Knowing Abe since he was chief minister of Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi chose Japan for his first bilateral visit outside the district in September 2014, in recognition of the importance India attaches to its ties with the Japan. The relationship has expanded into new areas and Japan is a key partner in India’s infrastructure development.
Abe sought to revise the post-war constitution to give more power to the military and increase defense spending. Abenomics was based on quantitative easing, fiscal spending and structural reforms.
Shinzo Abe positioned himself as an enthusiastic advocate for the promotion of equality in Japanese society and this aspect of his politics became known as “womenomics”.
China’s actions on the border have also brought India and Japan closer together and they have embarked on joint connectivity projects, including the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor.
During his visit in 2007, Abe quoted Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh in the Indian Parliament emphasizing the connection between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
“The Pacific and Indian Oceans now drive a dynamic coupling as seas of freedom and prosperity,” he said.
During his visit in 2015, Abe performed ‘Ganga Aarti’ with PM Modi in Varanasi.
Prime Minister Modi met Shinzo Abe in May at the Quad Summit in Tokyo along with two other former Japanese prime ministers. After Abe announced in 2020 that he was stepping down for health reasons, Prime Minister Modi recalled his contributions to the growth of bilateral relations.
“I am saddened to hear of your ill health, my dear friend @AbeShinzo. Over the past few years, through your wise leadership and personal commitment, the India-Japan partnership has grown deeper and stronger than ever before,” he said. |
The Prime Minister paid a glowing tribute on the passing of Shinzo Abe saying he had dedicated his life to making Japan and the world a better place.
“I am shocked and saddened beyond words by the tragic passing of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe. He was a towering global statesman, outstanding leader and remarkable administrator. He dedicated his life to make Japan and the world a better place,” Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.
The prime minister noted that Abe has made immense contribution to elevating India-Japan relations to the level of a special strategic and global partnership. “Today all of India mourns with Japan and we stand in solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters at this difficult time,” he said.