Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the death of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and tweeted, “A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end.” “India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service and bettering lives of the poor,” PM Modi tweeted. “Sushma Swaraj Ji was one of her kind,” he added.
Former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who extended a helping hand to many Indians in distress abroad and acquired a reputation as one of the most accessible ministers in the first term of the Narendra Modi government, died suddenly on Tuesday night after a cardiac arrest. She was 67.
Swaraj, who was India’s first full-time woman foreign minister (Indira Gandhi held additional charge of the ministry when she was prime minister) suffered the cardiac arrest late in the evening and was immediately taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). She died after efforts to revive her failed.
In her last tweet, Swaraj posted: “Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime.” It was a reference to the Lok Sabha effectively abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and converting the state into two Union territories — J&K and Ladakh — realising what had always been a key objective of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its members.
Sushma Swaraj was replaced as external affairs minister in the second term of the Narendra Modi government by former diplomat S Jaishankar, who said after his appointment that he was proud to follow in the footsteps of Swaraj.
PM Modi praised her performance in the ministry. “I can’t forget the manner in which Sushma Ji worked tirelessly as EAM in the last 5 years. Even when her health was not good, she would do everything possible to do justice to her work and remain up to date with matters of her Ministry. The spirit and commitment was unparalleled,” he wrote on Twitter.