Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Friday condoled the demise of former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral.
In his condolence message, Ansari said: "I am deeply saddened at the passing away of Inder Kumar Gujral, former Prime Minister of India. Gujral was a distinguished leader and an outstanding public figure who served our country in various capacities, including as External Affairs Minister and Ambassador to the USSR, with dedication, honesty and patriotism, in a long and illustrious career spanning over many decades.
"He is fondly remembered by all who knew him as a warm, compassionate and friendly human being. In his death, India has lost an eminent son whose absence will be felt for all times to come. We pay homage to the departed soul and salute his service to our motherland," he said.
"My wife joins me in sending our heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family. We pray to the Almighty to grant them the strength and fortitude to withstand this loss," he added.
Gujral, 92, breathed his last at 3.27 p.m. in a private hospital in Gurgaon after a multi-organ failure. He was admitted to the hospital on November 19 with a lung infection.
Born on December 4, 1919, Gujral served as the 12th Prime Minister of India from April 1997 to March 1998.
He was Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting during the chaotic days of 1975 and thereafter, he was appointed as Ambassador of India to the Soviet Union.
Gujral left the Congress Party in the mid-1980s and joined the Janata Dal.
In the 1989 elections, Gujral was elected from the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency in Punjab. He served as Minister of External Affairs in former Prime Minister V. P. Singh's cabinet. In 1989, Singh sent him to Srinagar to seal the deal with the kidnappers in the case of the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed.
An important issue he had to deal with as External Affairs Minister was Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent events that led to the first Gulf War of January 1991.
He also served as Union Minister or Minister of State in several other portfolios-Communications and Parliamentary Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Works and Housing and Planning.
He also participated in India's freedom struggle, and was jailed in 1942 during the 'Quit India Movement'. (ANI)