Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Wednesday visited Sidi Saiyyed Ki Jaali, a 16th century mosque in the old city of Ahmedabad, soon after the latter’s arrival here on a two-day visit.
Modi received Abe and his wife Akie Abe at the mosque which is famous for its latticework windows, and took them on a tour of the complex.
“Thrilling welcome to the honoured guest. PM @AbeShinzo received with warm affection by enthusiastic crowd,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
The mosque was built in 1573 by the retinue of Ahemad Shah Bilal Jhajar Khan, a General in the army of the last Sultan Shams-ud-Din Muzaffar Shah III of the Gujarat Sultanate.
After completing the tour of the mosque, Modi took the visiting dignitaries to a heritage property across the street where he will host them for dinner.
Earlier in the day, breaking protocol, Modi personally received Abe at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport with a warm hug.
The visiting dignitary was given a guard of honour while artists from different parts of the country presented a variety programme.
The two leaders and Japan’s First Lady Akie Abe boarded an open jeep and proceeded from the airport to the historic Sabarmati Ashram with thousands of cheering people lining both sides of the eight-and-half km route.
At the Ashram, Modi, Abe and his wife paid floral tributes to a portrait and a bust of Mahatma Gandhi. Modi also presented Abe a marble sculpture of Gandhi’s famous three monkeys.
On Thursday, Modi and Abe will participate in the ground breaking ceremony of the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail project at the Western Railway Athletic Stadium near Sabarmati railway station.
Thereafter, they will hold the 12th Annual Bilateral Summit in Gandhinagar following which a number of agreements are expected to be signed.
This will be the fourth annual summit between Modi and Abe, where they are expected to review the progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
Japan is one of only two countries with which India has such an annual summit mechanism, the other being Russia.
The two Prime Ministers will also attend an India-Japan Business Leaders Forum.