Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Former Indian prime minister dies after illness aged 93

Pauline Gross
August 18, 2018

The King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali were among the early arrivals in New Delhi on Friday as representatives of foreign countries who were expected for the funeral of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The mortal remains of the former PM will be taken to his Delhi residence. Vajpayee was undergoing a treatment at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for the past 9 weeks.

The government has announced a 7 day mourning from August 16 to 22 after the passing away of former prime minister and Bharat Ratna, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Other political leaders at the funeral were Congress president Rahul Gandhi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and Congress leader Raj Babbar. From there it would be taken to the BJP headquarters tomorrow, where people would be able to pay their last respects.

Vajpayee, both a poet and a politician, died Thursday at age 93 in a New Delhi hospital.

Sial, who is from Pakistan and assumed office as SAARC secretary general in March 2017, recalled Vajpayee's statements at the 10th SAARC Summit in Colombo in 1998, in Kathmandu in 2002 and in Islamabad in 2004 and said: "His vision for a self-reliant and fully integrated South Asia continues to guide the Saarc process even today".

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Khan said that Vajpayee started efforts for improving Indo-Pak ties and continued them after becoming prime minister.

He further said that by creating peace between the two countries, "we can truly recognize the service of Vajpayee".

Japan's envoy to India, Kenji Hiramatsu also expressed grief over Vajpayee's death, stating that he was one of the most inspiring world leaders of our times. "The government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to his family, government and people of India", the statement read.

"It was Atal Ji's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century", Mr Modi said in a tweet.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, sent a condolence message to Namita, saying India had lost an eminent national leader who had eloquently supported the Tibetan people.

Other reports by GizPress

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