Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday wrote to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and condoled the death of former president Pranab Mukherjee, describing him as a true statesman who represented India with distinction abroad.
The 84-year-old veteran politician died after he suffered a septic shock on Sunday. He died of a cardiac arrest on Monday evening following a 21-day battle with multiple ailments.
I am saddened to learn of the passing of former President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Lee wrote to Modi.
"Please accept my deepest condolences," he said.
Mukherjee was a towering leader with a heart for the common man. He was a true statesman who represented India with distinction abroad.
Mukherjee was familiar to all of us in Southeast Asia, particularly because as External Affairs Minister in the mid-1990s, he championed India's 'Look East' policy," Lee said.
Recalling Mukherjee's achievements, Lee said that under his leadership, India took significant steps to elevate ties with ASEAN, including becoming a full Dialogue Partner in 1996.
The former president was also a good friend of Singapore who oversaw the launch of the Joint Ministerial Committee in 2007, which has become a regular platform for both the sides to review cooperation and exchange views on the state of the world.
I have personally known Mukherjee for many years and have always enjoyed my interactions with him. I remember our last meeting in 2016, during my visit to New Delhi.
He was warm as ever, and generous with his insights. He leaves behind a shining legacy of serving others, building consensus and rising above party politics. In today's world, these precious traits will be especially missed," Lee said.
Other leaders in Singapore too condoled the death of Mukherjee and wrote to their counterparts in India, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs MFA said.
In her letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, Singapore President Halimah Yacob paid tribute to Mukherjee's "long and remarkable career in public service".
I am saddened to learn about the passing of former President Pranab Mukherjee. On behalf of the people of Singapore, I extend my deepest condolences to you and the people of India, she said.
India has lost one of her finest sons. Over a long and remarkable career in public service, Mukherjee had dedicated his life and immense talent to transforming India, the president said.
The Singapore president said that Mukherjee served with distinction in numerous capacities, including as leader of both Houses of Parliament and as minister in several important portfolios such as commerce, finance, defence and external affairs.
As India's 13th President from 2012 to 2017, Mukherjee served with humility. His unwavering commitment to improve the lives of the Indian people will serve as a lasting beacon of inspiration to many, she said.
Our thoughts are with the people of India during this period of national mourning, she said.
Former senior minister Goh Chok Tong wrote to Mukherjee's son Abhijit.
Please accept my deepest condolences in this time of grief, Goh said.
He remembered Mukherjee as a stalwart leader and an exemplary diplomat who dedicated his life to serving India and its people.
His immense contributions in public service, including in numerous portfolios, have indelibly shaped India's development trajectory, he said.
I was privileged to work with Mukherjee to strengthen Singapore-India relations. During our conversations, I was always struck by his political astuteness, sharp insights and unwavering dedication to India.
His ability to forge consensus on difficult issues bears testament to the deep respect that he commanded across the political aisle as well as his talent in unifying people. It is my hope that your father's legacy will continue to guide and inspire future generations of Indians," he said.
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