New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla paid tributes to former president Pranab Mukherjee stating that he had a major influence on governance and as foreign minister had articulated and realized many foreign policy priorities.

In a letter to Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishta, Shringla said the Indian Foreign Service was “greatly enriched by his stellar leadership and instinctive understanding of international affairs.”

“With the passing of Shri Mukherjee, we have lost a great statesman and an inspirational figure in our public life,” Shringla wrote in his letter.

Mukherjee, 84, died on Monday. He was admitted into the Army Research and Referral Hospital on 10 August and underwent surgery for a clot in his brain. He also tested positive for covid-19. After the surgery, Mukherjee went into a coma and later developed lung infection.

A veteran politician, Mukherjee had served in the governments headed by former prime ministers Indira Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. In Singh’s government, Mukherjee held the posts of finance, external affairs and defence. As external affairs minister between 2006-09, Mukherjee signed the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal in October 2008 that is seen as a key turning point in India-US ties.

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