The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has sent a message of condolence to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, expressing sorrow at the death of the country’s former President, Abdul Kalam.
Mr Kalam – who was India’s 11th Head of State from 2002 and 2007 – died suddenly while giving a university lecture. The Indian Government has declared seven days of national mourning.
In his message, the Prime Minister described Mr Kalam as a great man who became known as India’s “People’s President” because he was undoubtedly one of the most dearly loved figures in India.
“We are greatly saddened by his passing and he is especially remembered fondly by Fijians of Indian descent. A man of humble background, Abdul Kalam rose to become one of the most influential figures in India – the father of your space and missile programs and of India’s nuclear industry. He was also extremely popular with young Indians and encouraged them to fulfil their dreams for themselves and their nation”, he said.
The Prime Minister also described the former President of a great friend of developing countries such as Fiji and a great believer in south-south cooperation – the ability of developing countries to learn from each other and carve out their own paths to prosperity and happiness.
“We mourn his passing in Fiji and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Indian Government and the Indian people at this time”, the Prime Minister concluded.