Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) (Image credit: Japan Forward)

Modi cancels visit to Europe, Japanese PM to India

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday (April 20) cancelled his scheduled visit to Europe, his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga a day later announced that he is putting off his visit to India following steep rise in the cases of corona virus in his own country as well.

This is the second time that the Japanese PM is cancelling his visit to India in the last one and a half year. In the mid of December 2019 Suga’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, had to suddenly cancel his summit-level talk with his Indian counterpart in Guwahati following a large-scale anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in Assam in which five people lost their lives.

Similarly, the British PM Boris Johnson had to twice cancel his visit to India—the first time during the Republic Day function and the second time between April 25 and 27—because of the surge in COVID-19 in the United Kingdom and this time in India.

The latest decision in New Delhi and Tokyo came when India witnessed highest number of cases in the last 24 hours. Over 2.95 lakh cases were reported in a single day with 2,023 deaths.

Prime Minister Modi was scheduled to attend the India-EU summit in the Portuguese city of Porto on May 8. Now it will be held in a virtual format on the same date.

Meanwhile, the situation in the national capital Delhi, Mumbai and other big cities of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh etc. is very grim. The hospitals are running short of oxygen and Remdesivir.

Though on Tuesday the Supreme Court overturned the Allahabad High Court order imposing lockdown in five cities of Uttar Pradesh, the apex court had asked the state government to take all strict measures to check the movement of the people.

A day earlier the Allahabad High Court had imposed lockdown on five cities including Lucknow, Prime Minister Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Banaras and Prayagraj, where the High Court is actually situated.

On the other hand, the second phase of the four-phase Panchayat poll was held in 18 districts on April 19.

Ironically, while the country is passing through the worst health-crisis the matches of Indian Premier League are going on in the same half a dozen centres where the pandemic is wreaking havoc. But the matches are not open for spectators.

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