A Partner City MoU was signed by Indian Ambassador Deepa Wadhwa and Kyoto Mayor Daisaka Kadokawa at a ceremony witnessed by Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
    
The MoU, which was signed soon after Modi's arrival here on a five-day visit, provides for cooperation in heritage conservation, city modernisation and cooperation in the fields of art, culture and academics, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters
    
This will serve as framework for Smart heritage city programme between the two countries, he added.
    
Kyoto, which is a heritage city with Buddhist culture, provides special symbolism to the visit as the Prime Minister has the vision of "rejuvenating" Indian cities.

Meanwhile, Modi who is on a five-day visit to Japan arrived at the Osaka International Airport to begin the first leg of his five-day visit to Japan.
    
In the first leg of his trip, he will see the 'smart city' experiment in Japan considering that he intends to build 100 smart cities in India.
    
Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have substantive summit meeting in Tokyo on September 1 during which the two sides will look at ways to take the Strategic and Global Partnership forward.
    
Modi has a substantive agenda during the trip which he hopes will ‘write a new chapter’ in bilateral ties and take the Strategic and Global Partnership to a higher level.
    
Underlining the importance of the visit, the ‘excited’ Modi said on the eve of the trip that Japan has ‘paramount importance’ in his vision for India's development and progress.
    
India has ‘great expectations’ from the visit, the External Affairs Ministry has said.
    
Cooperation in the fields of defence, civil nuclear, infrastructure development and rare earth materials is expected to top the agenda of the discussions.

                                               HIGHLIGHTS
India, Japan sign MoU to develop Varanasi into 'smart city'
Modi intends to build 100 smart cities in India
Modi says, Japan visit will script a new chapter in bilateral relations
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe receives Modi
Abe to hold substantive summit meeting in Tokyo on September 1
Strategic and global partnership to figure in substantive summit meeting
Cooperation in fields of defence, civil nuclear, infrastructure development and rare earth materials top the agenda

Some agreements, including in defence and civil nuclear sectors, are expected to be signed. Among the agreements to be signed is one on joint production of rare earth materials.
    
"I am keenly looking forward to my visit to Japan at the invitation of my good friend, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for the annual summit between India and Japan," Modi said in his pre-departure statement.
    
Noting that this will be his first bilateral visit outside the immediate neighbourhood as Prime Minister, he said that it underlines ‘the high priority’ that Japan receives in India's foreign and economic policies.
    
"It is also a reflection of Japan's paramount importance in my vision for development and prosperity in India and in peace, stability and prosperity in Asia at large," Modi said.
    
"I am confident that my visit will write a new chapter in the annals of the relations between Asia's two oldest democracies and take our strategic and global partnership to the next higher level," he said.

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