Former Indian PM I.K. Gujral dies aged 92: Minister

Published on Nov 30, 2012 7:28 PM
In this file photo taken on Oct 13, 1997, Britain's Queen Elizabeth (right) and then Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral (left) smile during a ceremonial welcome at The Presidential Palace in New Delhi. Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, who transformed India's icy relationship with arch rival Pakistan during his time in government, died on Nov 30, 2012, aged 92, the government said. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Former Indian prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who engineered a thaw in the icy relationship with arch rival Pakistan, died on Friday aged 92, officials and colleagues announced.

Mr Gujral, who served as prime minister in a coalition government from April 1997 to March 1998, passed away on Friday afternoon at Gurgaon's Medanta Medicity hospital, near Delhi, where he was admitted 11 days ago with a lung infection.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as "a man of peace, an idealist who lived by his principles and an intellectual with the human touch" in a tribute on his official Twitter account.

Mr Gujral was born on December 4, 1919 in the city of Jhelum, Punjab (now part of Pakistan) into a family of Congress party workers. He began his career in politics as a student leader and member of the underground Communist Party of India. He was arrested in 1942 and jailed for his involvement in the anti-colonial Quit India movement.

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