Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away

Former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away

He retired from politics in 2005 and suffered a stroke in 2009.

Full diplomatic relations were established in 1992.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the ailing former leader on Wednesday evening.

AIIMS press release confirming the death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In 2004, Vajpayee travelled to Pakistan for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit where Pakistan agreed not to allow its soil to be used for anti-India activities.

The one thing both sides could agree on was his honesty.

One of seven children of a schoolteacher in central India, Vajpayee joined India's Hindu revivalist political movement in his late 20s. One of the few politicians I always respected for his honesty and devotion to the national cause.

The former prime minister died at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at 5.05pm on Thursday, bringing an end to an unparalleled political legacy. Petrol prices were finally deregulated in June 2010 by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government decontrolling diesel prices in October 2014.

Vajpayee also improved relations with Beijing, officially recognizing Tibet as part of China.

The tests prompted tit-for-tat tests by arch-rival Pakistan and sparked concerns about a nuclear conflict in the region. He lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades. India earned worldwide praise for its caution.

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

He also famously took the first direct bus from Delhi to Lahore in February 1999. Priyanka Chopra tweeted: "Former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visionary ideas and contributions for India were truly remarkable. Muslims were accused of setting the fire, though the true cause was never known.

Vajpayee's public response to the riots reflected his many contradictions.

In a statement the hospital said: "Despite the best of efforts, we have lost him today". "They are just as crucial for a global order at peace with itself".

People of all faiths in his "karam bhoomi" Lucknow held special prayers for his long life.

Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Suresh Prabhu, Jitendra Singh and Harsh Vardhan, and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi also visited the hospital to check on Vajpayee.

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