Uncertainty looms over India-Japan summit as Assam protests intensify

Doubts persisted on Thursday as to whether India and Japan would go ahead with an annual summit in Guwahati during December 15-17 after widespread violent protests in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) left at least two persons dead.

Last week, India announced the dates for the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Though both sides haven’t formally named the venue, preparations were on to hold the summit in Guwahati. Some of the banners and hoardings put up in the city for the summit have been vandalised by protestors.“I have no update on this matter at this stage and this is what I have to share,” Union external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in reply to a flurry of questions on the summit at a weekly news briefing.

People familiar with preparations for the summit said both sides still intended to go ahead with the meeting in Guwahati but the protests had forced a rethink. There is also a possibility the summit could be postponed if it couldn’t be held in Guwahati as planned, said two people familiar with the developments.

Asked whether the government could change the venue, Kumar said: “I am not in a position to clarify on this. I have no updates to offer.”

Amid massive protests, a small team of Japanese officials that visited Guwahati remained confined to its hotel on Thursday because of the protests, officials of the Assam government said.

Guwahati was selected as the venue to showcase the considerable investments made by Japan in developmental projects across the northeastern region in recent years, the people cited above said.

Source : Hindustan Times

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