New Delhi, Aug 17: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) on Friday expressed condolence over the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and described him as a strong advocate of cooperation within the South Asian region.
“We have lost a great statesman, politician, writer, poet, and above all a humane person committed to peace”, in a message to Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, Saarc Secretary General Amjad Hussain B. Sial said.
Sial, who hails from Pakistan and assumed office as Saarc Secretary-General in March 2017, remembering Vajpayee’s statements at the 10th Saarc Summit in Colombo in 1998, in Kathmandu in 2002 and in Islamabad in 2004, stated that the vision of former Prime Minister for a self-reliant and fully integrated South Asia continues to guide the Saarc process even in the contemporary scenario.
He also recalled Vajpayee’s “grand diplomatic gesture” of taking bus rides to Lahore and Dhaka during his Prime Ministership.
“Besides, as the three-time Prime Minister of India, Late Shri Vajpayee’s leadership greatly contributed to the prosperity and stability of India, and the country attained steady economic growth and became a leader in information technology,” the Saarc Secretary General asserted.
“On behalf of officials at the Saarc Secretariat and on my own behalf, I wish to convey our sincere condolences to the bereaved family, the government and the people of India on the sad demise of Shri Vajpayee.”
The former Prime Minister and a BJP Starwalt passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Delhi on Thursday evening following a prolonged illness.