Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in the UAE on an official visit, today spoke with the family of former Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who died at 66, to give his condolences. Mr Jaitley's family told the Prime Minister not to cut short his important engagements abroad, news agency ANI reported.
Mr Jaitley died at Delhi's AIIMS this afternoon after battling an illness. His body will be taken to his home soon and the funeral will be held tomorrow. In a brief statement, the hospital said Arun Jaitley died at 12.07 pm.
PM Modi is on a three-nation visit to France, the UAE and Bahrain. His visit to Bahrain is significant as it will be the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister to the country.
The UAE government honoured PM Modi with the "Order of Zayed", the highest civilian decoration conferred by the Gulf nation.
He came to the UAE from France, where he will return on Sunday to attend the G7 Summit.
PM Modi will discuss bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and launch RuPay card to expand the network of cashless transactions abroad.
In tweets today, PM Modi remembered his longtime friend and party colleague Mr Jaitley as "a fiery student leader" who was "at forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency."
"BJP and Arun Jaitley Ji had an unbreakable bond. As a fiery student leader, he was at forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency. He became a much liked face of our Party, who could articulate the Party programmes and ideology to a wide spectrum of society," the Prime Minister tweeted.
"Full of life, blessed with wit, a great sense of humour and charisma, Arun Jaitley Ji was admired by people across all sections of society. He was multi-faceted, having impeccable knowledge about India's Constitution, history, public policy, governance and administration," the Prime Minister tweeted.