India salutes Bharat Ratna Mandela

India salutes Bharat Ratna Mandela

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday led the nation to mourn the death of “Bharat Ratna” Nelson Mandela, stating that his demise was as much a loss to India and the world as it was to South Africa.

Describing Mandela as a “world leader and icon of inspiration of humanity”, President Pranab Mukherjee said that he was a great friend of India and his contribution for strengthening the close ties between two countries would always be remembered.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting of the Union Cabinet, which condoled the death of Mandela and decided to observe five-day national mourning to pay homage to the leader, who was a global icon for struggle for justice and equality. Both Houses of Parliament were also adjourned after leaders of all political parties paid tribute to the former President of South Africa and recalled his bond with India. The Congress Working Committee, the apex body of the ruling party, also expressed profound grief on Mandela’s death.

“The passing away of President Mandela is as much a loss to India and the world as it is to the South African nation,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday.
Singh said that Mandela had endured great personal hardship so that others could be provided with dignity, equality and opportunity, noting that his life and work made him a citizen of the world.

Mandela was conferred Bharat Ratna in 1990, three years before he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

In the Lok Sabha, Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, said that Mandela was a beloved figure in India. “He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest honour that India can bestow, because we loved and revered him, because, like the Mahatma who had inspired him, he was a leader who belonged to all humanity, a towering beacon for all who cherish freedom, democracy and social justice,” she said.

Both the Houses were adjourned for the day after the members observed silence to pay homage to the departed soul.

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