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Trump, Pompeo mourn death of Pranab Mukherjee

United States President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have condoled the demise of former president Pranab Mukherjee, terming him a “great leader” whose “visionary leadership” helped India’s rise as a global power and paved the way for a stronger US-India partnership.

Mukherjee died on Monday evening following a 21-day battle with multiple ailments. He was 84.

The long-time Congress leader and seven-time parliamentarian had tested positive for COVID-19 when he was hospitalised and was being treated for a lung infection.

He suffered a septic shock on Sunday due to it. Doctors said he died of a cardiac arrest.

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of India’s former President, Pranab Mukherjee,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

“I send my condolences to his family and the people of India as they grieve the loss of a great leader,” he said.

Earlier, Pompeo said that the United States was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Mukherjee.

In a distinguished career spanning more than half a century, Mukherjee worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of India as a parliamentarian, cabinet minister, and as the president of the world’s largest democracy, Pompeo said.

“His visionary leadership helped drive India’s rise as a global power and paved the way for a stronger US-India partnership,” he said.

“President Mukherjee’s many accomplishments resulted in a more prosperous and secure India. As Minister of External Affairs and Defense, he championed the landmark US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, a foundation of the US-India strategic partnership, and signed the Defense Framework Agreement to enable the US-India security relationship we witness today,” Pompeo said.

“Few Indian statesman played a more vital role in preparing India for the mantle of global leadership in the 21st century. On behalf of the American people, we extend our deepest condolences to the people of India and to President Mukherjee’s family during this time of mourning,” he said in his statement.

Mukherjee is survived by two sons and a daughter. His son Abhijit Mukherjee was the first to break the news of the death of the veteran politician.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa also paid his last respects to Mukherjee, describing the departed leader “a dear friend of Sri Lanka and its people.”

Rajapaksa visited the India House and wrote in the condolence book being maintained by the Indian High Commission here, the prime minister’s office said.

“The late president was a dear friend of Sri Lanka and its people. The absence of his friendly leadership would be felt by the Indian public, Sri Lanka and the entire world,” Mahinda said in his condolence message.

The Indian high commission said Mahinda was the first to write in the condolence book.

The high commission thanked the prime minister for his tributes. “In this sad moment, the condolences offered by you (Mahinda) and the Sri Lankan people would provide solace to the family of the former president and the Indian people,” the high commission said in a Twitter post.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa earlier condoled Mukherjee’s demise.

“I am deeply saddened to learn the demise of former Indian president #PranabMukherjee. He will be remembered for his service to the people of #India. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” the Sri Lankan president tweeted on August 31.

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