Lee ‘a towering figure in Asian history’

leekyNEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condoled the death of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew whom he described as a lion among leaders.

“A far-sighted statesman and a lion among leaders, Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life teaches valuable lessons to everyone. News of his demise is saddening,” he said in a statement.

“In this hour of bereavement, our prayers are with Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s family and the people of Singapore. May his soul rest in peace,” the Prime Minister said.

Lee, who was Singapore’s first Prime Minister, died of severe pneumonia Monday.

President Pranab Mukherjee also condoled the passing away of Lee.

He said Asia mourns the loss of a towering leader. “Heartfelt condolences on sad demise of former PM Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Asia will mourn the loss of a towering leader,” Mukherjee said in a tweet.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi described him as a “towering figure in Asian history” and an “esteemed and valued friend of India”.

In a letter to Singapore’s present Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, she also referred to the “warm personal memories” of her meetings with Kuan Yew in 2005 and 2007 when he had visited Delhi.

“I am deeply grieved to learn of the passing away of your beloved father. Lee Kuan Yew was a towering figure in Asian history, an abiding source of inspiration and influence throughout our continent.

“In his three decades as Prime Minister of Singapore, he gave his country a sense of proud nationhood and national identity based on a richly multi-cultural and meritocratic society,” she said.

Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew’s son. – From Press Trust India