Leaders from China, Bangladesh, Iran and Singapore condoled on Wednesday the demise of former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and recalled her important role in cementing India's relations with the world.
Swaraj passed away in New Delhi on Tuesday night after suffering a cardiac arrest. She was 67. In her tribute, Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina said her country had lost a "good friend". "She (Swaraj) was a good friend of Bangladesh. With her death, Bangladesh has lost a good friend. Bangladesh will recall her contributions in taking the relationship between the two countries to a new height," Hasina was quoted as saying by bdnews24. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif recalled his "fruitful" discussions with Swaraj.
"My deepest condolences to the government and the people of India on the passing of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. I had many fruitful and useful discussions with her while she held office, and am saddened by her sudden passing. May she forever rest in peace," he tweeted. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Swaraj had made important contributions to the development of China-India relations. "Madam Sushma Swaraj is a senior Indian politician.
China deeply mourns for the passing of Madam Sushma Swaraj and expresses sincere condolences to her family," Hua said in a written response. UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa also expressed condolences at the demise of Swaraj. "Saddened by the news of the passing of Sushma Swaraj, an extraordinary woman & leader who devoted her life to public service. I had the honour of meeting her in my visits to India, & will always remember her fondly," Espinosa tweeted.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed sorrow at the demise of Swaraj, saying that her efforts to achieve regional policy objectives made a lasting impression among the Lankan public. "I have always known Mrs Swaraj as a true friend of Sri Lanka, a neighbour and a relative of Sri Lanka who held a pleasing personality," Wickremesinghe said. Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan remembered Swaraj's "warm friendship" and said that she represented India on the world stage and fought tirelessly for Indian citizens.
"Sushma Swaraj was a wonderful lady, always full of life, as she represented India on the world stage and fought tirelessly for her citizens," wrote the Singapore minister. Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa referred to Swaraj as his "dear sister" and said she always called him 'My Brother'. "She is not with us anymore. Rest In Peace 'my dear sister'. India and Bahrain will miss you," he tweeted. Calling her "Behinji", former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai expressed his grief over the loss of a "tall leader" and "people's person". "Deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Behinji Sushma Swaraj. A tall leader and a great orator and people's person. My profound condolences to the people of India and her family and friends," he tweeted.
Paying tributes to Swaraj, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter, "We express our sincere condolences to the people of India on the passing away of the former FM of this friendly country Sushma Swaraj." The French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said she was one of India's most respected leaders who showed remarkable dedication to serving her fellow citizens and took the Indo-French relationship to new heights.
Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka visited Swaraj's residence and paid his last respects. Condoling the death of his former Indian counterpart, Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said Swaraj led her country with "distinction and determination". "I'm saddened to hear of the untimely demise of Sushma Swaraj, Senior BJP leader & former Foreign Minister of India. My deepest condolences to the people & government of India on the loss of a distinguished public figure who represented her country w/distinction & determination," he tweeted.