An ‘exemplary statesman’ this is how United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres remarked while paying his rich tributes to the three – time Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who passed away at the age of 93 .
Guterres, during his visit to the Permanent Mission of India this week, extended his heartfelt condolences to the family of the former prime minister, recalling that he had met Vajpayee during the first India-European Union summit.
The UN chief added that he would always be remembered as an ‘exemplary statesman and leader who worked selflessly for peace and development in India and the world’, Ambassadors and delegates of several countries, including Peru, Israel, Nigeria, Palestine, Switzerland, Pakistan and Japan, also paid a visit to record their messages in the condolence book.
Atul Khare, the UN under-secretary-general for field support, also expressed his condolences.
Pakistan’s delegate wrote that Vajpayee ‘contributed to bringing a change in the India-Pakistan relations and remained a key supporter of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and regional cooperation for development’.
The Consulate General of India also held a ‘shradhanjali sabha’ (homage meet), where several members of the Indian-American community and officials from other nations paid tributes to Vajpayee.