World leaders pay tribute to former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi

Tributes continued to pour in from world dignitaries for former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who died on Tuesday evening after a cardiac arrest.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tributes to Swaraj and extended sympathy to her family.

“She (Sushma) was a good friend of Bangladesh. With her death, Bangladesh has lost a good friend. Bangladesh will recall her contributions in taking the relationship between the two countries to a new height,” Hasina was quoted.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif expressed his condolences and recalled his “fruitful” discussions with her.

“My deepest condolences to the government and the people of India on the passing of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. I had many fruitful and useful discussions with her while she held office, and am saddened by her sudden passing. May she forever rest in peace,” he tweeted.

Former Israeli ambassador to India Daniel Carmon recalled Swaraj’s visit to Jerusalem in 2016 and said she was “impressively accessible” to the Indian diaspora.

“Saddened by the passing away of former #EAM @SushmaSwaraj ji. An #Indian leader who was always impressively accessible to all #Indian citizens worldwide. I will not forget her friendship to Israel in #Parliament & in #Government & her visit to #Jerusalem, 2016. She will be missed,” he wrote on Twitter.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa expressed condolences and referred Swaraj as “dear sister”.

“Indian leader and former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who always called me ‘My Brother’, is not with us anymore. Rest in Peace ‘my dear sister’. India and Bahrain will miss you,” he tweeted.

Russian Foreign Ministry paid tributes to Swaraj, “We express our sincere condolences to the people of #India on the passing away of the former FM of this friendly country @SushmaSwaraj.”

Swaraj was rushed to Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) by her family sometime after 9 pm when she was taken ill.

According to sources at AIIMS, the 67-year-old BJP stalwart was feeling restless at 9 pm and reached the hospital at around 9:30 pm in an ambulance. A team of doctors tried to revive her for 70 to 80 minutes but failed in their attempt. Swaraj was declared dead at 10:50 pm.

She was appointed the foreign minister in the first term of the Narendra Modi government in 2014. She had a kidney transplant three years ago, had not been keeping well lately. Due to health reasons, she had not contested the recently held Lok Sabha election held earlier this year and opted out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government.

As the external affairs minister, she helped implement the foreign policy of the Modi government which witnessed an expansion in engagement with the Indian diaspora across the world.

As the foreign minister, Swaraj’s interventions ranged from seeking information on relatives stranded in avalanches in other countries to families who needed help in bringing home a relative’s body from abroad and even foreign nationals seeking an urgent medical visa for treatment in India.

Hours before her death, Swaraj had tweeted congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation bill in parliament.

“Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime,” Swaraj tweeted hours before she passed away at AIIMS.

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