Modi to attend Lee's funeral

New Delhi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the funeral of former Singapore prime minister and its founding father Lee Kuan Yew on March 29, it was announced on Tuesday.

Lee died on Monday after a prolonged battle with pneumonia. President Pranab Mukherjee and Modi paid their homage on behalf of India.

People lay flowers at the tribute zone for Lee Kuan Yew outside Singapore's Istana on March 24, 2015.(Photo: Xinhua/ IANS)

In a condolence letter to Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Tuesday, Mukherjee described Lee as a "genuine" friend of India who would "long be remembered for laying the strong foundation of the excellent cooperation" between the two countries.

Describing the departed leader as a "far-sighted statesman" and a "lion among leaders", Modi in his condolence message said: "Lee's life teaches valuable lessons to everyone".

"News of his demise is saddening," Modi tweeted earlier.

Condolence messages poured in from across the political spectrum on Monday for the leader who went from being a sharp critic of India initially to one of its strongest admirers towards later years.

Calling him a builder of the modern and multi-ethnic Singapore, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said: "He belonged to the league of Asian statesmen who successfully carried forward the task of nation building."

DMK president M. Karunanidhi lauded Lee for giving Tamil an official status in Singapore while the Andhra Pradesh assembly observed two minutes' silence in Lee's honour.

Known as the founding father of modern Singapore who led the country as premier for over three decades until 1990, Lee is also credited with making the island nation the most prosperous in Southeast Asia. - IANS