Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Atal Bihari Vajpayee no more, confirms AIIMS | Former Prime Minister was 93

Atal Bihari Vajpayee no more, confirms AIIMS | Former Prime Minister was 93

The United States on Thursday joined the world in paying tributes to late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying he was among those who "recognized early that India and the U.S. could develop a partnership" for the benefit of the region and the world.

Vajpayee suffered a stroke in 2009 and retreated from public view.

In another far-reaching impact of that 2000 visit, Prime Minister Vajpayee had described India and the United States as "natural allies" in a speech at a NY think-tank.

The sudden turn sparked a flurry of visits from top dignitaries, including Modi, who credited Vajpayee with laying the foundations for the meteoric rise of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that rules India today.

However, he was later involved in a groundbreaking peace process with Islamabad.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee with missile man Abdul Kalam.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a towering BJP leader, respected equally by his followers and opponents alike, died yesterday after his hospitalisation in June.

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The hospital was flooded with politicians cutting across party lines. He again served as India's prime minister from 1999 to 2004.

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?"

Modi's government presented Vajpayee as an icon, seeking inspiration from his political career and cashing in on his stature and popularity as a statesman acceptable across political divides.

He was being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, where he was admitted nine weeks ago. "We will miss him", Rahul Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress party, tweeted.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Thursday said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee recognised that the US-India partnership would contribute to the world's economic prosperity and security. While India is observing seven days of state mourning as a mark of respect to Vajpayee, countries such as the United States, Russia and Japan too have condoled the sad demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "He will be remembered for his vast contribution in bolstering US-India relations".

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