India will cherish the memory of Fidel Castro, President Pranab Mukherjee said today as he condoled the passing away of the revolutionary Cuban leader.
President Castro was a friend of India. The people of India admired him for his struggle for the liberty and progress of his people, Mukherjee said in a message to Raul Castro Ruz, the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, the Republic of Cuba.
"It was with great sadness that I received the news of the passing of your brother and Former President of Cuba, President Fidel Castro Ruz, Leader of Cuba's Revolution. Please accept my heartfelt condolences," the President said.
India was among the first countries to recognise Cuba after the success of his 1959 Revolution. Under Castro's charismatic leadership, Cuba made commendable achievement, particularly in the fields of education, health, bio-technology and sports, he said.
"He has long been a towering figure on the world stage, including at the helm of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
"We shall always cherish President Castro's personal contribution to the close relations between India and Cuba. Memories of President Castro's visit to New Delhi for the NAM Summit in 1983 are still fresh in our minds. India mourns with the people of the Republic of Cuba," Mukherjee said.
People of India will cherish the memory of this revolutionary leader whose ideas and action not only inspired his people or people of Latin America but people all over the world who want to break the tyranny of the system and want to express freely their views, the President said in a televised address.
"He had true personal relationship with former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
"As leader of the NAM, Fidel Castro made immense contribution and worked with India side-by-side. Since the success of his revolution in Cuba in 1959, India was one of the first countries to recognise diplomatically Cuba after the revolution," Mukherjee said.
The communist idol, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 US presidents during his half century rule, died at age of 90.
Cuba's government has announced that Castro's ashes would be interred on December 4 in the eastern city of Santiago, the birthplace of his revolution.
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