Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee cremated with full state honours

Atal Bihari Vajpayee,Atal Bihari Vajpayee Dead,Atal Bihari Vajpayee Death

A coffin decorated with flowers and wrapped in an Indian flag carries the body of late former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his funeral procession in New Delhi on August 17, 2018.

Vajpayee, 93, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Thursday evening after a prolonged illness.

A onetime journalist, Mr Vajpayee was in many ways a political contradiction.

He was a lifelong poet who revered nature but who oversaw India's growth into a swaggering regional economic power. "EAM @SushmaSwaraj met with former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai and leaders talked about great role played by former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in consolidating democracy in Afghanistan", the MEA spokesperson tweeted.

It was during Vajpayee's term as prime minister that India's ties with Israel became more public after the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992.

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PTI Chairman and prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan on Thursday expressed condolences over the demise of the leader, saying his efforts for India-Pakistan peace will always be remembered.

"We have learnt with sadness the passing away of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India, who was undergoing treatment in a hospital in New Delhi", the Foreign Office said in a statement. My condolences to his family & all his admirers.

Indian politicians and celebrities, including cricket captain Virat Kohli and opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, took to Twitter to post their condolences.

"It was Atal Ji's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century", Modi said in a tweet. He had suffered a stroke in 2009, which reportedly weakened his cognitive abilities, following which he developed dementia. From there it would be taken to the BJP headquarters tomorrow, where people would be able to pay their last respects.

He gave the go-ahead for underground nuclear tests in 1998 believing nuclear weapons would be a deterrent against China and Pakistan.

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