TOKYO: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met with Akie Abe, the widow of slain former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, at the Akasaka Palace here and conveyed his heartfelt condolences on the tragic loss.
Modi, who is here to attend the state funeral of the Japanese leader, earlier joined several global leaders to pay floral tribute to Abe who reshaped Japan's foreign policy, including setting out a bold vision for a quantum leap in ties with India.
''Following the State Funeral, PM @narendramodi had a private meeting with Mrs. Akie Abe at Akasaka Palace. PM recalled his fond memories with ''Abe San" and conveyed his heartfelt condolences on this tragic loss,'' the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted.
Prime Minister Modi also had a brief interaction with Prime Minister Kishida to reiterate his condolences, the ministry said.
Earlier in the morning, Modi met Kishida ahead of the ceremony and conveyed his deepest condolences over the tragic demise of Abe, lauding his contributions in strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership as well in conceptualising the vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
''I am feeling very sad about the sudden death of former premier Abe... He took Japan-India relations to a greater level and also expanded it in many areas,'' Modi, who shared a close friendship with the slain Japanese leader, said.
Modi recalled that when he visited Japan last time, he had a long conversation with Abe. ''India is missing Shinzo Abe,'' he added.
''When I was in Tokyo earlier this year, little did I imagine I would be back for the solemn programme of former PM Abe's state funeral. He was a great leader, a phenomenal individual and someone who believed in India-Japan friendship. He shall live on in the hearts of millions!'' Modi tweeted.
Abe, 67, was shot dead while making a campaign speech on July 8 in the southern Japanese city of Nara.
''I am confident that under your leadership, India-Japan relations will deepen further and achieve greater heights,'' Modi told Kishida.
Prime Minister Kishida appreciated Modi's visit to Japan to attend the State Funeral for former Prime Minister Abe.
Representatives from over 100 countries, including more than 20 heads of state and governments, attend Abe's funeral on Tuesday.