Inder Kumar Gujral, Indian PM who engineered thaw with Pakistan, dies
Former Indian prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who engineered a thaw in the icy relationship with arch-rival Pakistan during his time in government, died yesterday, aged 92.
"I am deeply grieved to inform the house about the demise of Inder Kumar Gujral, the former prime minister of India," Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told parliament's lower house.
Gujral, who served as prime minister in a coalition government from April 1997 to March 1998, was admitted to Gurgaon's Medanta Medicity hospital 11 days ago with a lung infection.
The former diplomat was born on December 4, 1919, in the city of Jhelum, Punjab (now part of Pakistan), into a family of Congress party workers.
He began his career in politics as a student leader and member of the underground Communist Party of India. He was arrested in 1942 and jailed for his involvement in the anti-colonial Quit India movement.
Gujral joined the ruling Congress party after India won independence and later became minister of information and broadcasting for under prime minister Indira Gandhi from 1969-71 and 1972-75.
The soft-spoken Gujral ran afoul of the Congress leadership when he refused to censor radio bulletins during Gandhi's state of emergency in 1975.
He then spent five years working as India's ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1976 to 1980.
Gujral left the Congress party in the 1980s and joined the socialist Janata Dal, serving twice as India's foreign minister before being appointed prime minister in a coalition government in 1997.