Updated: May 11, 2021 5:50:45 am
INDIA’S CONSUL General in the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, Vinesh Kalra, died at a hospital in Kabul on Monday. He was 52.
He was suffering from Covid-19 but died of a cardiac arrest at the hospital, sources said. He is the first Indian diplomat serving overseas who has died after being infected with Covid-19.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar condoled Kalra’s death. “Deeply grieved at the passing away of Shri Vinesh Kalra, Consul General, Mazar-e-Sharif. A conscientious and dedicated colleague, he will be missed by us all. Sincerest condolences to his family,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla tweeted, “Loss of a dedicated officer who volunteered for a challenging assignment. I spoke to Mrs Monika Kalra conveying heartfelt condolences of all @MEAIndia personnel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time.”
Kalra had served in various Indian missions abroad, including Muscat, Hanoi, Pretoria, Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
During his stints at the headquarters in New Delhi and missions abroad, he had gained wide work experience in various fields such as Administration, Establishment, Finance, Commerce, Consular and Political. He underwent Chinese language training while serving at the Indian Embassy in Beijing.
The MEA’s official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Kalra showed exemplary commitment and dedication to the national cause by volunteering for a posting under difficult conditions. “@MEAIndia sincerely condoles the passing away of Shri Vinesh Kalra, Consul General, Mazar-e-Sharif. A sincere, hard working & reliable officer, he showed exemplary commitment & dedication to the national cause by volunteering for a posting under difficult conditions to Afghanistan,” he said.
“He will be remembered fondly and missed by one & all. @MEAIndia will extend all possible support to his family,” Bagchi tweeted.
Afghanistan’s ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay tweeted Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry statement, which said, “We are deeply saddened by the death of Shri Vinesh Kalra, Consul General, Mazar-e-Sharif, a great representative of India,dedicated to strengthen Indo-Afghan relations. We express deep condolences to his family,friends & colleagues at @MEAIndia.”
Tributes poured in from several senior diplomats as well. Former Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, “Vinesh was not just my colleague in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, but he was my friend too. Vandana and I grieve on his untimely passing.”
Permanent Representative of India to the UN in New York, T S Tirumurti, said, “A dear friend and colleague whom I had the privilege to work with closely in Malaysia. His passing away is a shock. Deep condolences to the family.”
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