India’s Vajpayee, who set off nuke race and peace, has died

India’s Vajpayee, who set off nuke race and peace, has died

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a diabetes patient, was admitted to AIIMS on June 11 for what doctors had described as a routine check-up.

"Prime Minister Vajpayee's efforts towards establishing an atmosphere of trust between India and Pakistan will be his lasting legacy,"Bilawal said, hoping that India's current leadership exhibits similar intentions and commitment towards sustainable peace in South Asia". "Unfortunately, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's condition has worsened over the last 24 hours".

She took to her official Twitter handle to write, "On behalf of the Australian Government, I express my deepest condolences on the passing of former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee".

Modi reached the hospital at around 7.15 pm and spent about 50 minutes there. "Vajpayee, as a foreign minister, took responsibility of improving India-Pakistan ties", ANI quoted him as saying.

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi also paid a visit to the hospital on Wednesday.

Vajpayee had battled poor health for years but his condition deteriorated sharply in recent days.

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Notably, Vajpayee breathed his last while undergoing treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

"Today India lost a great son", tweeted Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress party, adding that Vajpayee was "loved and respected by millions". He had suffered a stroke in 2009 that weakened his cognitive abilities. He subsequently developed dementia, and has had trouble with cognition and memory.

But the next year, when Islamabad sent fighters across the cease-fire line that divides the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between the nations, Vajpayee resisted military pressure to launch a broad counter-attack of Indian forces.

He again served as India's prime minister from 1999 to 2004. For Jammu and Kashmir, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said -insaniyat (humanity), Kashmiriyat (eclectic Kashmiri culture), jamhooriyat (democracy).

He was conferred India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, by the President of India in 2014. While India is observing seven days of state mourning as a mark of respect to Vajpayee, countries such as the United States, Russia and Japan too have condoled the sad demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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