Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee cremated with full state honours

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Former Indian prime minister dies after illness aged 93

Pakistan condoles death of ex-Indian PM Vajpayee

India's top leadership, foreign dignitaries and the common man mourned Vajpayee's death and bid an emotional farewell to the former prime minister who was one of the most-loved leaders in decades and had acceptability across a diverse ideological spectrum.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vajpayee's former deputy LK Advani, BJP President Amit Shah, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have visited AIIMS over the last two days to enquire about Vajpayee's health. Other political leaders at the funeral were Congress president Rahul Gandhi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and Congress leader Raj Babbar. Heavy security was deployed along the route. Leaders of the BJP were gathering at his home in New Delhi to pay their respects. Last night, Vajpayee's body was taken to his official residence on Krishna Menon Marg from AIIMS where he was admitted in June. "Vajpayee, as foreign minister, took responsibility of improving India-Pakistan ties", Khan was quoted as saying.

The statement said Vajpayee was a renowned statesman who contributed to bringing a change in India-Pakistan relations and remained a key supporter of Saarc and regional cooperation for development.

The government and people of Pakistan extend their "heartfelt condolences" to Vajpayee's family and to the government and people of India, the spokesman said.

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The flags of the USA, the United Kingdom and Belgium flew at half mast at their embassies in the Capital as a mark of respect. "Poet, politician, visionary, he left his mark on India's history".

Yuval Rotem, Ambassador, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, in his message said: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of a giant - India's former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee".

Vajpayee was the prime minister between 1998 and 2004 when the National Democratic Alliance government was in power.

But in India he was hailed as a hero, and it helped him bolster his image as a leader who was serious about national security and not afraid of global pressure.

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