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Singapore leaders send condolences after death of former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee

Singapore leaders send condolences after death of former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee speaks to the media in New Delhi, Jun 26, 2012. (File photo: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

SINGAPORE: Singapore leaders on Tuesday (Sep 1) sent their condolences to their Indian counterparts after the death of the country's former president Pranab Mukherjee, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Mr Mukherjee died on Monday, aged 84, of multiple organ failure after being admitted to hospital weeks ago. He tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug 10, and was in a deep coma and on ventilator support after coming down with a lung infection.

Mr Mukherjee served as India's president from 2012 to 2017. He also served as a minister in various portfolios, ranging from finance to defence and external affairs.

In her letter to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Singapore President Halimah Yacob paid tribute to Mr Mukherjee's "long and remarkable career in public service".

"India has lost one of her finest sons," she said. 

"His unwavering commitment to improve the lives of the Indian people will serve as a lasting beacon of inspiration to many," Madam Halimah added.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, writing to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, called Mr Mukherjee "a good friend of Singapore", having overseen the launch of the Joint Ministerial Committee in 2007.

Mr Lee described Mr Mukherjee as a "towering leader with a heart for the common man", adding that he was a "true statesman who represented India with distinction abroad". 

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong also wrote to Mr Mukherjee's son Abhijit.

"It is my hope that your father’s legacy will continue to guide and inspire future generations of Indians," he said.

The condolence letters in full:

MDM HALIMAH'S LETTER TO MR KOVIND

Your Excellency,

I am saddened to learn about the passing of former President Pranab Mukherjee. On behalf of the people of Singapore, I extend my deepest condolences to you and the people of India.

India has lost one of her finest sons. Over a long and remarkable career in public service, the late Shri Mukherjee had dedicated his life and immense talent to transforming India. 

He served with distinction in numerous capacities including as Leader of both Houses of Parliament and as Minister in several important portfolios such as Commerce, Finance, Defence, and External Affairs. 

As India’s 13th President from 2012 to 2017, Shri Mukherjee was down-to-earth and served with humility. His unwavering commitment to improve the lives of the Indian people will serve as a lasting beacon of inspiration to many.

Our thoughts are with the people of India during this period of national mourning.

Yours sincerely,

Halimah Yacob

MR LEE'S LETTER TO MR MODI

Dear Prime Minister Modi,

I am saddened to learn of the passing of former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee.

Shri Mukherjee was a towering leader with a heart for the common man. He was a true statesman who represented India with distinction abroad. 

He occupied many major offices, finally assuming the highest office in the land as President in 2012.

Shri Mukherjee was familiar to all of us in Southeast Asia, particularly because as External Affairs Minister in the mid-1990s, he championed India’s “Look East” policy. 

Under his leadership, India took significant steps to elevate ties with ASEAN, including to become a full Dialogue Partner in 1996. 

Shri Mukherjee was also a good friend of Singapore. He oversaw the launch of the Joint Ministerial Committee in 2007, which has become a regular platform for both sides to review our cooperation and exchange views on the state of the world.

I have personally known Shri Mukherjee for many years and have always enjoyed my interactions with him. I remember our last meeting in 2016, during my visit to New Delhi.

He was warm as ever, and generous with his insights. He leaves behind a shining legacy of serving others, building consensus and rising above party politics. In today’s world, these precious traits will be especially missed.

Please accept my deepest condolences.

Yours sincerely,

Lee Hsien Loong

MR GOH'S LETTER TO MR ABHIJIT MUKHERJEE

Dear Shri Abhijit Mukherjee,

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of your beloved father.

I remember Shri Mukherjee as a stalwart leader and an exemplary diplomat who dedicated his life to serving India and her people. 

His immense contributions in public service including in numerous portfolios have indelibly shaped India’s development trajectory.

I was privileged to work with Shri Mukherjee to strengthen Singapore-India relations. During our conversations, I was always struck by his political astuteness, sharp insights and unwavering dedication to India. 

His ability to forge consensus on difficult issues bears testament to the deep respect that he commanded across the political aisle as well as his talent in unifying people. It is my hope that your father’s legacy will continue to guide and inspire future generations of Indians.

Please accept my deepest condolences in this time of grief.

Yours sincerely,

Goh Chok Tong

Source: CNA/jt

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