Marking the end of an era, former Prime Minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee breathed his last at the age of 93 at 5:05 pm on August 16 in New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS).
As the Nation mourns the death of India's 10th Prime Minister, the US, via its embassy in India, has conveyed its respects. A statement released by the US Embassy commended the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said he would always be remembered for his massive contribution in promoting India-US relations.
Here's the statement:
The United States grieves with India on the loss of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He will be remembered for his immense contribution in bolstering India-US relations. During his tenure, Prime Minister Vajpayee advocated for a robust partnership with the United States, referring to us as “natural allies.” The U.S. Mission in India extends our deepest condolences to the family of former Prime Minister Vajpayee and the citizens of India.
During Atal Bihari Vajpayee's administration, the India-US dynamic went through a number of swings, at times progressing to new levels in a positive sense, and on others, being strained, largely on account of India's nuclear tests and the attempts by the US to get India to sign what was then the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). At that time, the US had imposed economically debilitating sanctions on India, which had a transient impact on the economy, but were later withdrawn.
In 2000, Bill Clinton became the first American President to visit India since Jimmy Carter in 1978. Clinton's visit was hailed as a significant milestone in the relationship between the two countries as it led to a massive expansion in trade and economic ties. A similar upswing in India-US ties has also been on display under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who cultivated a close bonhomie with Barack Obama and has been mentioned in glowing terms by Donald Trump.
Even though he's not been politically active for almost a decade, during which the BJP has come to become the dominant force in Indian politics, the significance of the efforts and political influence of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is hard to understate.
As per the press release by AIIMS, the 93-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran had been stable under the hospital's care for 9 weeks following his June 11 admission, but his condition deteriorated 36 hours before his demise.
Vajpayee, became the first-ever member of the Bharatiya Janata Party to become India's Prime Minister and was also the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term. As a mark of respect to the former Prime Minister, the central government has announced a seven-day period of national mourning.