Former Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj dies at 67
Sushma Swaraj, India’s former foreign minister and a prominent leader of the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, died Tuesday at 67, local media reported.
The Press Trust of India said that Swaraj died of a heart attack after she was rushed to hospital in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.
In a series of tweets, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Swaraj’s death as a “personal loss” and praised her work as foreign minister.
“She played a key role in bettering India’s ties with various nations.
“As a Minister we also saw her compassionate side, helping fellow Indians who were in distress in any part of the world,” Modi wrote.
Just hours before her death, Swaraj wrote a final tweet praising Modi for his decision to revoke Indian-administered Kashmir’s special constitutional status.
“Thank you Prime Minister. Thank you very much. I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime,” she said.
Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the opposition Congress party, tweeted that Swaraj was “an extraordinary political leader, a gifted orator and an exceptional parliamentarian …”
Swaraj was appointed external affairs minister in Modi’s first term of government in 2014 and served until earlier this year when she decided against running in the national elections due to health reasons.
She successfully underwent a kidney transplant operation in Dec. 2016.
Swaraj made her mark as Indian foreign minister thanks to her direct responses, often via social media, to appeals for help on a range of issues.
In 2016, Swaraj helped a Pakistani bride obtain a visa for her wedding in India and has helped other members of the Indian diaspora in other times of distress.
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