Former Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee dies aged 93

KATHMANDU: Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), in New delhi following health complications breathed his last today, officials informed.

According to Indian media reports, Vajpayee was put on a life support system by the doctors after his condition worsened in the last 36 hours.

Vajpayee was a Hindu nationalist who in 1998 ordered nuclear weapons tests that stoked fears of atomic war with rival Pakistan. But he later launched a groundbreaking peace process with Islamabad.

That was not the only way in which Vajpayee seemed a political contradiction. He was a moderate leader of an often-strident Hindu nationalist movement, and a lifelong poet who revered nature but who oversaw India’s growth into a swaggering regional economic power.

Vajpayee’s supporters saw him as a skilled politician. Critics accused him and his party of stoking public fears of India’s large Muslim minority. Both sides agreed he was that most rare thing in Indian politics: a man untainted by corruption scandals.

He has died after a prolonged illness. He was 93.