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MEA has 'no update' on Modi-Abe meet in Guwahati

Source: PTI
December 13, 2019 00:53 IST

IMAGE: Protesters raise slogans as they take part in a demonstration against the passing of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill during curfew, at GS Road in Guwahati, on Thursday. Photograph: PTI Photo

As Assam reeled under violent protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, there was no clarity on whether the government will go ahead with the India-Japan annual summit in Guwahati from December 15-17 as planned.

"We don't have any update to share," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a weekly media briefing while replying to a volley of questions on the issue.

Last week, Kumar announced that the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will take place between December 15 and 17.

Though the government has not announced the venue for the summit, preparations were underway to host it in Guwahati.

 

Amid lack of clarity on the summit, Press Information Bureau of India Hindi on its Twitter handle posted a photograph of Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal with his Japanese counterpart with the caption saying their meeting was held before the scheduled Modi-Abe dialogue on December 16.

Assam has been witnessing massive protests for the last two days with thousands of people hitting the streets defying prohibitory orders to demand scrapping of the bill.

At least two persons died due to bullet injuries on Thursday after police opened fire on protesters in Guwahati.

On Wednesday, protesters pulled down hoardings erected in central Guwahati to welcome Abe.

Asked whether the government is contemplating shifting the venue, Kumar said: "I am not in a position to clarify on it. I have no updates to offer."

Sources said a Japanese team visited Guwahati on Wednesday to take stock of the preparations.

Last year, Japan hosted the summit in picturesque Yamanashi prefecture during which both sides had resolved to significantly expand bilateral cooperation in a range of areas.

Reflecting growing congruence in bilateral ties, the two countries held their inaugural foreign and defence ministerial dialogue two weeks back which prepared the ground for the Modi-Abe summit.

The Indo-Japan defence and foreign ministerial dialogue took place following a decision taken by Modi and Abe during last year's annual summit.

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