The inauguration ceremony of the international cooperation and convention centre called 'Rudraksh' in Varanasi, built with Japanese assistance, showcased the India-Japan bonhomie, with Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga acknowledging the "shared fundamental values" between the two nations, and PM Narendra Modi calling Japan India's "most trusted friend".
The inauguration ceremony of the centre was attended by Japan's ambassador in India Satoshi Suzuki, while PM Suga, sent a video message which was played before PM Modi's address.
Suga said the convention centre was a "symbol of friendship between Japan and India through Japan's grant aid". He said Varanasi has had a close relationship with Japan and has continued cultural and academic exchanges with Kyoto.
"Japan and India share fundamental values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law and strategic interests. Both countries have maintained cordial relations through long history of exchanges," said Suga. He added that Japan will work with India in overcoming the Covid-19 challenge as well as making efforts to develop bilateral ties under the 'Special Strategic and Global Partnership' through cooperation in such areas as green society, digital, cyber, healthcare and enhancing connectivity. He said he also looked forward to coming to India at an "appropriate timing" to further strengthen Japan- India relations with PM Narendra Modi.
Modi in return thanked PM Suga for his involvement in the project that enabled the "gift" that Kashi has got. "The PM was the chief cabinet secretary at the time. Since then, till his role as the PM, he has been personally involved in the project," Modi said. "There is another person I cannot forget to mention- another friend of mine from Japan- Shinzo Abe," Modi said.