India on Thursday joined UN member states in observing International Mandela Day on the 95th birthday of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying the day also holds special significance for the country.
"On the occasion of the Nelson Mandela International Day, I compliment all member states of the United Nations for celebrating the values that Nelson Mandela has dedicated his life to," Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, Permanent Representative of India, read Mr Singh's message to UN during a special event of the General Assembly.
"These values of peace, pluralism, justice, equality and dignity are also embodied in the United Nations Charter. In proclaiming 18 July as the Nelson Mandela International Day, the United Nations paid tribute to a great citizen of the world," Mr Singh said.
The Prime Minister also wished speedy recovery to Mr Mandela, who was admitted to a hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection.
"Today, we stand with our African brothers and sisters in wishing Mandela a speedy recovery and good health," he said in his message.
Mr Singh also invoked Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion as he said the day holds special significance for India.
"This day also holds special significance for India. The father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who led the struggle for our independence, honed his skills as a young lawyer in Nelson
Mandela's homeland," he said.
People across the globe today joined South Africans in celebrating the 95th birthday of the country's first black president, with President Jacob Zuma saying that the ailing peace icon's medical condition has "steadily" improved.