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PM Narendra Modi arrives in Japan

Kyoto: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday began a five-day visit to Japan, keen to boost ties in infrastructure, trade, defence and civil nuclear energy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a special gesture, flew down to Kyoto to receive Modi, who is in his first bilateral foreign sojourn outside South Asia.

Before leaving for Japan, Modi expressed confidence that his visit would open a "new chapter" in bilateral relations and give a boost to their defence and security cooperation.

He hoped the trip will "take our strategic and global partnership to the next higher level", Modi said.

He termed Japan "a key regional and global partner" for India.

"We will discuss how to boost our defence and security cooperation, including in defence technology, equipment and industry, in line with the evolving domestic policies of the two countries. I will try to accelerate progress on the unfinished agenda of projects and initiatives that our two countries have embarked upon," the prime minister said.

From Kyoto, Modi travels to Tokyo, where he would discuss with Abe the roadmap for "our global and strategic partnership in the years ahead".

India is keen on early conclusion of the civil nuclear agreement with Japan, which will facilitate supply of its nuclear technology to India. The two countries have been holding talks on the issue since 2010.

With the Modi government having initiated a project for starting bullet trains in the country, that issue is also expected to engage early attention at the discussions.

While the two countries have cooperation of navies that apparently share perceptions in terms of maritime security and anti-pirate operations, negotiations are underway for sale of US-2 amphibious aircraft by Japan to India.

Abe will host a dinner for his Indian counterpart later Saturday.

This is Modi's third official bilateral visit after becoming prime minister in May this year. He made bilateral visits to South Asian neighbours Bhutan and Nepal after becoming prime minister.

Besides that, the only other visit he made abroad was to Brazil for the BRICS (Brazil, India, China, Russia, South Africa) summit.

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