The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has condoled the passing away of former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral.
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of former Prime Minister Shri I.K. Gujral. In his passing, the country has lost an intellectual, a scholar-statesman and a gentleman politician whose liberal and humanist vision was rooted in the teachings of the leaders of our freedom movement. I personally have lost a friend of long standing, whose wisdom, idealism and deep concern for social equity left a great impression on me and whose counsel and opinion I often sought and valued greatly," said Dr. Singh in his message.
"Shri Gujral was a man of peace, an idealist who lived by his principles and an intellectual with the human touch. His long and distinguished career was marked by diverse political and diplomatic responsibilities. No matter what portfolio he held, what shone through always was his sincerity and warmth, compassion for his fellow human beings and the legacy of strongly held socialist beliefs from his youthful experiences," he added.
Dr. Singh said former Prime Minister Gujral was a diplomat who helped to consolidate India's ties with Russia and the non-aligned world.
"These qualities of head and heart enabled him to make his mark in every office he held. He was a diplomat who helped to consolidate India's ties with Russia and the non-aligned world. As Minister for External Affairs, he restored India-Bangladesh relations with the Ganga Waters Agreement, rebuilt the structure of dialogue with Pakistan and initiated the negotiations on the historic India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. His vision of a prosperous South Asia at peace with itself constitutes a lasting legacy," said Dr. Singh. As Prime Minister, he set an example of grace under pressure, of composure in difficult circumstances and of steadfastness to principles. As a largely coalition-based polity adjusted to rapid political and social change, Shri Gujral provided a steady hand at the helm," he added.
The Prime Minister said Gujral would also be missed in South Asia, where his determined quest for a future of peace, friendship and cooperation was epitomized by the eponymous Gujral Doctrine, which is still invoked by men of goodwill in the subcontinent.
"We will feel his loss in India, where his long years of public service, starting with political activism and underground activity in the Punjab in his student days culminated in the highest executive office in the land," said Dr. Singh.
" And he will be missed around the world by the many friends he won through his political and diplomatic activism, his sharp intellect and his warm character. The best tribute to him would be to rededicate ourselves to the principles by which he lived his life," he added.
Dr. Singh also extended his deepest condolences to the family and friends of Gujral on behalf of the Government of India and on his personal behalf, and prayed that they be granted the strength and fortitude to face this loss with resolve. (ANI)