Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday termed his Japan trip as "very successful" and hoped that India's infrastructure will improve and the country will become clean with the help of $35 billion promised by Japan over five years, the highest ever amount ever.
Winding up his official programme on the penultimate day of his five-day visit, Modi expressed gratitude to Japan for reposing "trust" in India and demonstrating its friendship with a quip "yeh fevicol se bhi zyada mazboot jod hai (this bond is stronger than that of fevicol)".
"This visit has been very successful," Modi said at the Indian community reception hosted in his honour n Tokyo.
"There has been talk about billions and millions. But there has never been talk of trillions," he said, referring to 3.5 trillion Yen (USD 35 billion or 2,10,000 crore) promised by Japan to India through public and private funding over the five years for various works, including building of smart cities and cleanup of the Ganga river.
"This is a big achievement. My biggest happiness is that Japan trusted us," he said at his last official programme after a hectic day of events and meetings.
Talking in the context of trust, he referred to Japan's decision on Monday to lift ban on six Indian entities, including HAL. The ban had been imposed in the aftermath of 1998 nuclear tests.
Referring to signing of an Memorandum of Understanding under which Varanasi will be cleaned up and developed learning from the experience of Japanese 'smart city' Kyoto, Modi said, "we can learn from each other".
"I was born in Gujarat but these days I am at the service of Varanasi (in Uttar Pradesh). Kyoto is also a very small city and they have large number of temples like in Varanasi. But they have modernised while preserving heritage," the PM said.
He noted that 17 structures in Kyoto were in the UNESCO World Heritage list, which was not a mean thing.
Talking about his 'clean up' agenda, Modi said the issue was close to his heart as it would be a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, for whom cleanliness was the dearest thing. "Mahatma gave so much to us. What did we give to Mahatmaji?"
He said it was because of this that he had asked the countrymen to make India clean by 2019, the 150th anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
Modi used the occasion to suggest to the Indians in Japan to write to their relatives in friends in India to contribute to the cleanliness drive, at least in their neighbourhood. "Tell them (relatives and friends) that such is the cleanliness in Japan and the same should be replicated there," he said.
He also had an innovative idea of boosting tourism in India as he asked each NRI, including in Japan, to encourage at least five families to visit India once a year. That will promote tourism and lead to improvement in incomes of common Indians, including 'chaiwalas' (tea sellers), he said.
Modi said Indians are appreciated all over the world but referred to the image among some that it is still the land of snake charmers. He narrated an anecdote in this regard and said that he had told an inquisitive foreigner a few years back that "pehle hum saap se khelte the, ab hum mouse se
khelte hain (earlier we used to be play with snakes, but now we play with computer mouse). So there is devaluation".
The comment, which was reference to widespread expertise of Indians in IT sector, evoked laughter from the gathering of NRIs.
He said the world realises that the 21st century will belong to Asia, with some saying it will belong to China and some saying it will belong to India.
"There is no doubt that the century will belong to Asia but what kind of century it will be will depend on what values India and Japan promote, what direction and approach the two countries have," he said.
Earlier, he inaugurated Vivekananda Centre in the Indian Embassy in Tokyo.