Published: Wed, August 07, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

India's former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj dies

India's former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj dies

Former External Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj passed away on Tuesday after suffering a cardiac arrest. India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service and bettering lives of the poor.

Ms Swaraj, 67, a former external affairs minister, passed away on Tuesday night, AIIMS sources said.

Calling it a "bold and historic decision", Swaraj said: "I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime".

During her tenure as the External Affairs Minister between May 2014 and May 2019, Sushma Swaraj was known for her promptness in helping Indians overseas, be it arranging for passport and visa on a short notice or helping families stranded there. She first became a state minister at age 25 in 1977 in Haryana CM Devi Lal's Janata Party government. My thoughts are with her family, supporters and admirers in this very unfortunate hour.

Sushma Swaraj had decided not to contest the 2019 Indian general election due to health reasons as she was recovering a kidney transplant. She did not participate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections owing to health concerns, India Today reported, describing her as a "star minister" during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first term.

Party leader Rahul Gandhi also posted on Twitter, calling Swaraj an "extraordinary political leader". "Her demise is a monumental loss for us", Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet. "She was an able leader, a brilliant administrator, a phenomenal orator and a wonderful teacher".

Ms Swaraj distinguished in all positions she he held in the party, the government and the opposition, he said, adding that she leaves behind a void which is hard to fill.

We at join our readers in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said he was "shocked" to learn of her passing and was finding it "difficult to accept this news".

Union Minister Smriti Irani put out an emotional message after the demise of Sushma Swaraj. "May her soul rest in peace", he wrote.

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