India declared one-day national mourning on Saturday as a mark of respect to President of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who died aged 73 after battling illness for several years. In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Sheikh Khalifa as a great statesman and visionary under whom relations between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) prospered. “I am deeply saddened to know about the passing away of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed. He was a great statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered,” Modi said on Twitter.
“The heartfelt condolences of the people of India are with the people of UAE. May his soul rest in peace,” he said. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the government declared one-day national mourning on Saturday as a mark of respect to Sheikh Khalifa. “The government of India has declared one-day national mourning tomorrow, May 14, as a mark of respect to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi who passed away today,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.
It said the national flag will be flown at half-mast on Saturday throughout India on all buildings where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment on the day. In their messages, President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Modi expressed condolences at the demise of Sheikh Khalifa, the MEA said.
“In their messages, they noted that he was a statesman and a visionary leader and recalled his contribution to the strengthening of India-UAE bilateral relations and the welfare of the Indian community in UAE,” the MEA said.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Sheikh Khalifa laid the foundation for the India-UAE relationship.”We deeply mourn the passing away of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. He will be remembered as a leader who modernised and empowered the United Arab Emirates. This laid the foundation of the transformation of the India-UAE relationship,” Jaishankar said. The UAE President was unwell for several years.
“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has mourned to the UAE people, Arab and Islamic nations and the world the death of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan,” the official WAM news agency tweeted. Sheikh Khalifa became the UAE’s second president in November 2004.