Kathmandu, February 9
Foreign leaders, envoys and political parties have extended condolences over the death of Nepali Congress President and former Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
India sent an all-party delegation led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to pay homage to the late leader, while Indian National Congress praised his contribution towards fostering Indo-Nepal relations.
While expressing his sorrow over Koirala’s departure, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the late leader’s simplicity. “In Sushil Koirala ji, NC has lost a big leader who served Nepal for decades and India lost a valued friend. Pained by his demise. RIP,” Modi tweeted.
“Sushil Koirala ji’s simplicity holds lessons for all of us. My condolences to the Koirala family and people of Nepal in this hour of grief,” he added.
Chinese Ambassador Wu Chuntai was the first foreign envoy to rush to Koirala’s residence in Maharajgunj to pay tribute to the late leader.
Wu expressed deepest condolences on behalf of the government and people of China to the bereaved family, Nepali Congress party as well as people of Nepal.
In his condolence message, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee recalled Koirala’s contribution to building bilateral ties between the two countries.
“Throughout his long public life, Shri Sushil Koirala worked to strengthen the relations between India and Nepal,” The Indian president’s Secretariat quoted Mukherjee as saying in a statement, “It is with deep sorrow that I received the news of the sad demise of Shri Sushil Koirala, former prime minister of Nepal.”
Meanwhile, Mukherjee also sent a separate message to his Nepali counterpart President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. In the message, the Indian president said, “He led during the crucial period of political transition and constitution promulgation. The simplicity of his life holds a lesson for all of us.”
The Swaraj-led delegation included Rajya Sabha member and Janata Dal United leader Sharad Yadav; deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha and former union cabinet minister Anand Sharma; and general secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Sitaram Yechury and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
After landing at TIA on a special aircraft in the evening, they proceeded straight to Dasharath Stadium where Koirala’s body’s was kept and paid their last tributes. Swaraj said the late leader was a “man of high thinking and simple living”.
Writing on the condolence book, Swaraj said, “Nepal’s Crucial Political transformation was successfully concluded under his leadership. On the behalf of the people and the government of India, we convey our heartfelt condolence. India has today lost a true friend.”
Issuing a statement, President of Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi expressed her grief over the death of Nepali Congress president and former prime minister Sushil Koirala, saying he led Nepal during extremely difficult and testing times.
“He (Koirala) led his country during extremely difficult and testing times and contributed immensely to the transition of Nepal into a republic,” she added.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Nisha Biswal also extended deepest condolences to the Koirala family and the people of Nepal.
Likewise, ambassadors of India, China, and envoys of other friendly countries paid their last tributes to the former prime minister.
Issuing a condolence message, Ambassador of Japan to Nepal Masashi Ogawa said Koirala had made a historic contribution to democratisation of Nepal and took the leadership for promulgating the new constitution of Nepal in September 2015.
US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz said Koirala “achieved a huge milestone in Nepal with the passing of the new constitution”.
Similarly, EU Ambassador to Nepal Rensje Teerink said she was shocked by the news of former prime minister’s death.
Meanwhile, Bhutanese Home Minister and general Secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party of India, DP Tripathi are arriving Kathmandu tomorrow to pay last respects to the departed leader, according to a statement issued by the Nepali Congress.
A version of this article appears in print on February 10, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.