Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Osaka, Japan on Thursday. The prime minister is in Japan to attend the G20 summit. Modi will also attend bilateral and multilateral meetings “to articulate India’s views on the global platform”, said the Ministry of External Affairs.

Modi and Abe discussed several matters of mutual interest. “Abe initially began discussion with his expectation from the G20 Summit,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, according to PTI. “They spoke about the importance of focusing on global economy.”

Abe referred to Modi’s initiatives in the earlier G20 meetings on the matter of fugitive economic offenders and said the group should deal with this problem. Abe also spoke about resolving global trade problems and data flows, and said the G20 should come up with a constructive message about climate change.

“Abe emphasised the importance of preparing for this summit properly including through ministerial meetings, through various exchanges in infrastructure, defence, outer space, digital economy and start-ups,” Gokhale said.

The two leaders held a discussion on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, being built by Japan, and a convention centre being constructed in Varanasi. They agreed that the projects must be completed on time.

Modi said one of the important projects India and Japan have undertaken is setting up a cancer hospital in Kenya. He also asked for Japan’s help in building disaster resilient infrastructure.

This is the first meeting between the two leaders since the beginning of Japan’s Reiwa era. Modi congratulated Abe and the Japanese people for the start of the era, PTI reported. The Reiwa era began on May 1 after Emperor Akihito’s elder son Naruhito ascended the throne.

Modi also thanked Abe for the warm welcome extended to him and the Indian delegation. “Expanding the strategic template of our relationship,” External Affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. “PM Narendra Modi met Japanese PM Shinzo Abe ahead of the G20 summit. Discussed broad range of topics of mutual interest. PM said that he was looking forward to visit of PM Abe to India later this year for the annual summit.”

Gokhale said Modi will met Abe again during a trilateral meeting of India, Japan and the United States on Friday, to discuss the Indo-Pacific initiative, the Hindustan Times reported.

This is Modi’s sixth time at a G20 summit. The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin for a trilateral meeting and participate in an informal summit of the BRICS bloc, which comprises of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

In his departure statement, Modi said women’s empowerment, digitalisation and artificial intelligence, and progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations and major global challenges such as terrorism and climate change would be on the agenda of the summit.

“The summit will provide an important opportunity to reiterate and reinforce our strong support to reformed multilateralism, which is crucial for preserving rule-based international order in today’s fast changing world,” the prime minister said. “The summit will also be a platform for sharing India’s strong developmental experience of the last five years, which provided the basis for a resounding mandate by the people of India to the Government to continue on the path to progress and stability.”

Modi said the summit would be an “important stepping stone” for India to host it in 2022, on the 75th anniversary of Independence.