KOLKATA: It was the 'mishti doi' that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe loved most. And for Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the promise of further Japanese investment tasted just as sweet.
"Japan looks up to West Bengal as the gateway to India. The Japanese consulate in Kolkata was set up exactly 100 years ago in 1907, even earlier than the Chinese embassy in India," Abe said, adding that Japan expected West Bengal to play a pivotal role in strengthening relations with India. "I am here to reaffirm this role."
Abe met Buddhadeb over lunch at a five-star hotel and handed out dollops of promises - more money for ongoing projects, a host of new ones and even funds for IIM-Calcutta. The Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation plant in Haldia would triple its production by 2009 and the firm could expand its operations, Abe said. Mitsubishi chairman R Tomizawa and his team had flown to Kolkata, especially to meet the Japanese premier.