Hiroshima | The world gets frightened even today when it hears the word 'Hiroshima', Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday as he unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi, an apostle of peace, here in this Japanese city.
Modi, who arrived in Japan for the G7 summit on Friday, made those remarks after unveiling a 42-inch bronze bust of Gandhi in Hiroshima.
The bust site, adjacent to the Motoyasu River, is close to the iconic A-Bomb Dome that is visited by thousands of people - locals and tourists alike - every day.
"Even today, the world gets frightened when it hears the word Hiroshima. I got the opportunity to unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhi during my visit to Japan for the G7 Summit," he said after unveiling the bust.
"I want to thank the Japanese Government for placing the bust in Hiroshima and giving me the opportunity to unveil it," he said.
The United States conducted the world's first atomic attack on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, destroying the city and killing some 140,000 people.
The world today is grappling with climate change and terrorism, Modi said, asserting that the best solution to win the fight against the climate crisis was by following Gandhi's ideals.
He said the real tribute to Gandhi will be following his ideals.
"The bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Hiroshima will take forward the idea of non-violence.
"It is a great moment for me to know that the Bodhi tree that I gifted to the Japanese prime minister has been planted here in Hiroshima so that people can understand the importance of peace when they come here. I pay my respect to Mahatma Gandhi," he said.
Modi interacted with the Indian diaspora in Hiroshima after unveiling the bust sculpted by Padma Bhushan awardee Ram Vanji Sutar.
Dignitaries present at the unveiling ceremony included Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima City; Tatsunori Motani, Speaker of the Hiroshima City Assembly; Members of Parliament from Hiroshima and senior government officials; members of the Indian community and followers of Gandhi in Japan.
Modi also interacted with renowned Japanese artist Hiroko Takayama and author, Hindi and Punjabi linguist, Tomio Mizokami, and lauded them for their contributions in bringing the two countries closer.
"Met Ms. Hiroko Takayama, a respected artist who has a close association with India. She has worked extensively on enhancing the cultural bonds between India and Japan. She also presented her artwork to me," he tweeted.
"In Hiroshima, I was glad to interact with Professor Tomio Mizokami. A Padma Awardee, he is a distinguished Hindi and Punjabi linguist. He has made numerous efforts to make Indian culture and literature popular among the people of Japan," he said.
Modi is visiting Hiroshima from May 19 to 21 primarily for the annual summit of the G7 advanced economies in which he is expected to speak on challenges facing the globe, including food, fertiliser and energy security.
He will hold bilateral meetings with some of the world leaders attending the Hiroshima G7 Summit.
The G7 bloc comprises Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and Italy, as well as the European Union.