Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister, passes away

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister, passes away

"Vajpayee, as a foreign minister, took responsibility of improving India-Pakistan ties", ANI quoted him as saying.

Pakistan's prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan remembered Vajpayee as a "tall personality of the subcontinent".

It was in India's relations with Pakistan where Vajpayee's influence may last the longest.

In the days after the pogrom, Vajpayee said he could not understand how Hindus could burn women and children alive, sadly asking a group of Muslim survivors: "Have we lost our way so much that we cease to be humans?"

Vajpayee, a journalist and poet-turned-politician, is credited with helping lay the foundations for the meteoric rise of the far-right BJP which governs India today.

The Japan envoy also expressed grief over the death of former prime minister stating that he was one of the most inspiring world leaders of all times.

Seen as a moderate face of BJP, Vajpayee's first became Prime Minister in 1996, leading a shaky coalition whose members were suspicious of the BJP's right-wing politics. "An iconic leader on the world stage, Vajpayee led India with great wisdom, foresight and love for the country", said N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Tata Sons.

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AIIMS press release confirming the death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

A coffin decorated with flowers and wrapped in an Indian flag carries the body of late former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his funeral procession in New Delhi on August 17, 2018.

"A great economic reformer, as a Prime Minister he was always guided by a strong conviction that liberalisation would help us realize our economic potential and ultimately open the doors to becoming a globally competitive, strong and resilient economy", Bharti Enterprises Founder and Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said.

Vajpayee with former US President Bill Clinton.

"The government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to his family and to the government and people of India", it added.

Reports emerged on Thursday morning that Vajpayee was in a critical condition after India's top politicians visited the 93-year-old in New Dehli's All India Institute of Medical Science.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vajpayee's former deputy LK Advani, BJP President Amit Shah, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have visited AIIMS over the last two days to enquire about Vajpayee's health.

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