The annual India-Japan summit, scheduled to be held in Guwahati between December 15 and 17 , has been cancelled.
The announcement came after protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Bill brought the city to a standstill.
“With reference to the proposed visit of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's visit to India, both sides have decided to defer the visit to a mutually convenient date in the near future,” Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said.
Sources said that while the government was keen to hold the summit on schedule, and move it to Delhi, the Japanese side felt it would be better to postpone the meeting until it is held in Guwahati, so that the theme of this year's summit that focuses on Japan's investment in the Northeast region can be maintained. “The venue is the message”, explained a diplomat when asked about the decision.
Earlier, Japanese media reported that Tokyo was considering the cancellation of the visit of Mr. Abe to Guwahati in view of the widespread protests when parts of the infrastructure erected for the event were burnt down.
In case the summit is not reconvened in the next few weeks, this would mean that two annual summits would have to be scheduled in 2020.
This is the second round of cancellation of foreign leaders' India visits in two days. On Thursday, Foreign and Home Ministers of Bangladesh cancelled their trips. Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momin briefed the Japanese envoy to Bangladesh on Wednesday about the regional developments.