Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's India visit scheduled to begin on Sunday has been postponed, sources aware of the developments said. Guwahati, the planned venue for a summit between Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been engulfed in violent protests over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
As Assam reeled under violent protests over the contentious law, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had on Thursday said there was no clarity on whether the government would go ahead with the India-Japan annual summit in Guwahati from December 15-17 as planned.
“We don't have any update to share,” 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 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.
Assam has been witnessing massive protests in 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.