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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

‘National mourning’ for dead Saudi King

India had also declared national mourning in 2005 when his predecessor Saudi King Fahd died.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
January 24, 2015 12:48:57 am

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “saddened” by the passing away of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who has left a lasting impact on his country, the BJP-led NDA government on Friday night declared “national mourning” on Saturday as a mark of respect.

The Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin confirmed the development of the demise of the Saudi King, who is the Custodian of the Holy Mosques. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad, will be travelling to Saudi Arabia to express condolences.

India had also declared national mourning in 2005 when his predecessor Saudi King Fahd died. India declared national mourning in June 1989 when Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khomeini passed away and a three-day state mourning in April 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. More recently, the government declared five-day state mourning in December 2013 for former South African President Nelson Mandela.

“It is a mark of respect for a foreign leader or dignitary, whom India considers a special friend,” Lalit Man Singh, former foreign secretary told The Indian Express.

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According to practice, the national flag will be flown at half mast throughout the country and there will be no official entertainment during the day. The Union Home Ministry has informed chief secretaries of all states, administrators of UTs and secretaries to the Union government about the decision.

After 90-year-old King Abdullah’s death was announced on Saudi state TV at 1 am Friday, Modi tweeted, “A few days ago I spoke to Crown Prince Salman and enquired about King Abdullah’s health. News of King Abdullah’s passing away is saddening. In King Abdullah, we have lost an important voice who left a lasting impact on his country. I condole his demise.”

President Pranab Mukherjee also condoled the Saudi King’s death, remembering him as one who had “genuine warmth and affection” for India. Abdullah had once called India his “second home”, as it was under his rule that the foundation for the bilateral strategic partnership was laid and ties gained momentum. He made a historic visit to India in January 2006 as the Chief Guest of Republic Day celebrations and the trip opened a new chapter in the Indo-Saudi bilateral relations. He was the first Saudi king to visit India in 51 years.

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