In another example of his “direct letter diplomacy”, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday to express his regret over having to put off his visit scheduled for July 3 to 5 due to the budget session.
In the letter that was handed over personally by Indian Ambassador to Japan Modi spoke of India and Japan's “shared interests” as two “Asian democracies” and looked forward to visit Japan at the “earliest opportunity”.
The postponement of Modi's visit was one of two disappointments to the government's plans for a big splash in Japan. The India-US-Japan trilateral meeting, that had been scheduled for June 23-24 was also postponed until further notice because of last-minute scheduling issues with the Japanese delegation.
The decision contrasts with Abe's decision in a similar situation in January this year, when he visited India as the chief guest for the Republic Day parade. At that time the Japanese Diet (parliament) was about to start its annual budget session (on January 24), and Abe had to take an all-party consensus in order to excuse himself from the first few days of the session.
However, the Indian government has decided that it would not be possible for Modi to return the gesture ahead of India's Budget session. However, sources said, the Prime Minister's Office is hopeful of rescheduling the visit after the Parliament session in July.
Modi's visit to the BRICS summit in Brazil, is still on schedule for July 15-16. “The change of date cannot affect broader ties that the two countries and the two leaders share… As Modi and Abe will together announce a paradigm shift in India-Japan ties when the visit does take place,” said one of the team members working on advance arrangements.