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Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee cremated with full state honours

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee cremated with full state honours”

NE DELHI: Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has passed away.

Several foreign dignitaries including King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Sri Lanka acting Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella and Pakistan Law Minister Ali Zafar paid their last respects at Smriti Sthal.

He further said, "We tried to prevent it but we can not succeed".

Vajpayee, a three-time prime minister, died on Thursday aged 93. Chief ministers, including Yogi Adityanath, Nitish Kumar, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Vijay Rupani also attended the funeral. "The government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to his family, government and people of India", the statement read.

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"Former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was loved and respected by millions".

Sial, who is from Pakistan and assumed office as SAARC secretary general in March 2017, recalled Vajpayee's statements at the 10th SAARC Summit in Colombo in 1998, in Kathmandu in 2002 and in Islamabad in 2004 and said: "His vision for a self-reliant and fully integrated South Asia continues to guide the Saarc process even today".

"Vajpayee, as foreign minister, took responsibility of improving India-Pakistan ties", Khan was quoted as saying.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the hospital twice in 24 hours and top politicians from across parties arrived as the former prime minister's health worsened on Wednesday.

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Describing former prime minister's death as a "huge personal loss", Singh said he was pained beyond words at the demise of Vajpayee, who had cherished the ideal of a developed and powerful India. "Poet, politician, visionary, he left his mark on India's history".

Vajpayee was also considered one of India's best orators, enabling him to connect with millions of Indians across class and caste divides.

Earlier, thousands of mourners joined Modi, Shah, and other BJP leaders in the funeral procession.

Japan's envoy to India, Kenji Hiramatsu also expressed grief over Vajpayee's death, stating that he was one of the most inspiring world leaders of our times.

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