More than 125 Japanese companies are working in Gujarat because of this association and various Japanese universities and other organisations are helping in Gujarat’s development, he noted. He was addressing an event celebrating 40 years of Suzuki in India.
Modi remembered the late Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and his trip to Gujarat and said that the people of Gujarat fondly remember Abe’s visit to the state. The efforts to bring Japan and India closer, made by Abe, are now being carried on by the incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, he added.
Modi, who is on a two-day visit to his election-bound home state, had earlier inaugurated Smriti Van Memorial, commemorating the devastating earthquake of 2001 and Kutch’s revival and laid the foundation stone for projects worth around Rs 4,400 crore in Bhuj.
Recalling the earthquake, Modi said: “I remember when the earthquake happened. I reached here on the second day itself. I was not the chief minister then, I was a simple party worker. I didn’t know how, and how many people I would be able to help. But I decided that I will be here among you all in that hour of grief. And, when I became Chief Minister, the experience of service helped me a lot.”
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He recalled that during the first Diwali after the earthquake, his state cabinet colleagues and he spent their time in the area. He said that in that hour of challenge, “we proclaimed that we will turn disaster into opportunity (‘aapda se awasar’). When I say from the ramparts of the Red Fort that India will be a developed country by 2047, you can see that amid death and disaster, we made some resolutions and we realised them today. Similarly, what we resolve today, we will surely realise in 2047,” he added.
“While Gujarat was dealing with the natural calamity, the period of conspiracies started. To defame Gujarat in the country and in the world, conspiracies were hatched to stop the investment here,” he said. Even in these conditions, Gujarat became the first state to enact a Disaster Management Act.