Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe observe an honor guard ahead of a meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo. File photo/Reuters
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a visit to India, the Indian foreign ministry said on Friday, amid tensions in a northeast region where he was due to hold summit talks with counterpart Narendra Modi.
Two people were killed in Assam state on Thursday when police opened fire on mobs torching buildings and attacking railway stations in protest at new citizenship rules signed into law on Thursday.
The new law lays out a path of Indian citizenship for six minority religious groups from neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which protesters in Assam say would convert thousands of illegal immigrants into legal residents.
Modi had planned to host Abe in Assam beginning Sunday as part of a campaign to move high-profile diplomatic events outside Delhi to showcase India’s diversity.
“With reference to the proposed visit of Japanese PM @AbeShinzo to India, both sides have decided to defer the visit to a mutually convenient date in the near future,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.
Japan has stepped up infrastructure development work in Assam in recent years, which the two sides were expected to highlight during the summit. Abe had also planned to visit a memorial in the nearby state of Manipur where Japanese soldiers were killed during World War Two.
A movement against immigrants from Bangladesh has raged in Assam for decades. Protesters say granting Indian nationality to more people will further strain the state’s resources and lead to the marginalisation of indigenous communities.
Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Assam’s police chief, said that there had been no clashes between protesters and police on Friday.
“Things look better definitely today ...(but) forces are all deployed everywhere,” he told Reuters.
"Both sides have decided to defer the visit to a mutually convenient date in the near future," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
Japan has decided to invest Rs13,000 crore (205.784 billion Yen) in several ongoing and new projects in different Northeastern states of India, an official release said in Agartala on Friday.
Security was tight, with fans forced to pass through metal detectors. The traditional throwing of cushions to mark an exciting round was prohibited.
Most people recover within a few weeks, and monkeypox has only been fatal in rare cases.
It is noteworthy that the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the seriousness of the disease after it was detected in a number of countries, and the organisation called for a strong tracing of contacts of the infected cases.
Meteorologists had warned that heavy rainfall and hail were expected in western and central Germany on Friday, with storms producing wind gusts up to 130 kph (81 mph). Storms on Thursday had already disrupted traffic, uprooted trees that toppled onto rail tracks and roads, and flooded hundreds of basements in western Germany.
These included Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; Jo?o Lourenço, President of Angola; Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana; Mohamed Hussein Robley, Prime Minister of Somalia, and His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.