Former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away

Former Indian prime minister and statesman, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, passed away on Thursday following prolonged illness. He was 93.

He breathed his last a little after 5pm at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The veteran politician had been admitted there since June 11 following urinary and chest complications.

A long-standing parliamentarian and deeply respected leader across the political spectrum, Vajpayee served as the head of the Indian government three times. He ruled the country for 13 days in 1996, 13 months in 1998 and for five years from 1999.

As prime minister, he won accolades for reducing the role of government in running businesses and building a national ring of highways. In 1999, his army defeated Pakistan in the 10-week war in Kargil in Indian-administered Kashmir.

He also became India’s foreign minister and made efforts to improve relations with the country’s two neighbors, Pakistan and China.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was awarded with the country’s highest civilian award for the 1998 nuclear tests 16 years later.

Since 2009, Mr. Vajpayee had largely been confined to his home because of his health. He had announced his retirement in December 2009 after over six decades in public life. He was cremated in New Delhi.

Published on 16 August 2018