India PM Modi set to visit Japan end of August

India PM Modi set to visit Japan end of August
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

NEW DELHI - India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi will head to Japan at the end of the month on his first bilateral visit outside South Asia since coming to power, officials said Friday.

Modi will visit from August 31 to September 3 and plans to meet with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and Emperor Akihito, said a statement from India's foreign ministry.

"The Government of Japan sincerely welcomes the visit of the Prime Minister, which will further strengthen the friendly relations between Japan and India," said a separate statement from the Japanese embassy.

Modi had been expected to travel to Tokyo in early June but altered his plans so he could be present for the unveiling of his new government's first budget.

The right-wing Modi has often been compared to Abe, as both are staunch nationalists who were elected to office on pledges to revive their countries' economic fortunes.

Both countries also have a history of territorial disputes with China, although Modi has insisted that Beijing and Delhi should be "natural partners" rather than rivals.

Since coming to power, Modi has visited both neighbouring Bhutan and Nepal, while he also attended a summit of the BRICS developing nations in Brazil last month.

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