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Shinzo Abe — an outstanding leader of Japan, a towering global statesman and a great champion of India-Japan friendship — is not among us anymore. Japan and the world have lost a great visionary. And, I have lost a dear friend.

I first met him in 2007 during my visit to Japan as the chief minister of Gujarat. Right from that first meeting, our friendship went beyond the trappings of office and the shackles of official protocol.

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