New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Tokyo on Sunday on the second and key leg of his five-day visit to Japan for talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to propel the India-Japan global and strategic partnership to a higher plane.

Modi and Abe are to discuss economic and bilateral security cooperation during their talks scheduled for Monday which will follow a ceremonial welcome.

Cooperation in the fields of defence, civil nuclear energy, infrastructure development and rare earth materials—used in the manufacture of high-end electronics—is expected to be top the agenda of the discussions.

News reports in Japan said both countries could sign an agreement that will see around 2,000 tonnes of rare earth metals imported from India as Japan looks to tap sources other than China. However, a showpiece agreement on civil nuclear cooperation with Japan is unlikely to be clinched during the visit.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Abe extended his “warmest welcome" to Modi.

“Very enjoyable to have dinner together with PM Modi last (Saturday) night. Quite valuable to exchange views on topics such as Japan-India cultural exchanges and international affairs," Abe said, referring to the dinner he hosted for the visiting Indian prime minister in Kyoto on Saturday, soon after his arrival from New Delhi.

In a rare gesture, Abe travelled to Kyoto from Tokyo to welcome Modi on Saturday—a sign Abe was keen to deepen cooperation and ties with India and its new government.

Referring to their visit to the Buddhist Toji Temple in Kyoto Sunday, Abe tweeted, “Looking at statutes of Buddha, we were reminded of the deep historical ties between Japan and India. I am very glad that PM Modi enjoyed the cultural heritage of Japan’s ancient capital, Kyoto."

Soon after his arrival on Saturday, Modi witnessed the signing of a pact for the old imperial capital of Kyoto to partner with Varanasi, considered one of the holiest of Hindu cities and Modi’s parliamentary constituency. The pact provides for cooperation in heritage conservation, city modernization and cooperation in the fields of art, culture and academics.

On Sunday, Modi received a presentation from Kyoto mayor Daisaka Kadokawa on how Kyoto’s cultural identity was preserved while building it into a modern city.

Modi’s pre-departure statement on Friday summarized his views on India-Japan relations. In the statement, Modi described Japan as one of India’s “closest partners in political, economic, security and cultural realms" and hoped to draw up a road map for an India-Japan strategic partnership in his meetings with Japanese leaders including Abe.

That Japan has been chosen as the destination of Modi’s first bilateral visit outside the subcontinent, “underlines the high priority that Japan receives in our foreign and economic policies. It is also a reflection of Japan’s paramount importance in my vision for development and prosperity in India and in peace, stability and prosperity in Asia at large," Modi said.

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