Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief of Japan's New Komeito Party, a partner of the ruling coalition, said it is for the first time that a Japanese Prime Minister is to be chief guest at India's Republic Day parade.

"This speaks of the importance India and Japan are giving to the relationship. It is a symbol of this relationship," said Yamaguchi, who met Vice-President Hamid Ansari and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday to discuss India-Japan ties.

"Japan and India are working on ways to strengthen their partnership," he added.

The visit of Abe later in January 2014 comes after the visit of Japan's Emperor and Empress to India in November last year.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko's six-day visit to India, the second time they were visiting India after 50 years, was their first visit to a South Asian country after taking over the crown.


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