India declares one-day national mourning on demise of UAE President


New Delhi: India on Friday declared one-day national mourning on May 14 over the demise of President of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The president of the oil-rich nation died at the age of 73 after battling illness for several years.

"The government of India has declared one-day national mourning tomorrow, May 14, as a mark of respect to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi who passed away today," the Ministry of External Affairs said.

It said the national flag will be flown at half-mast on Saturday throughout India on all buildings where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment on the day.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences at the demise of Sheikh Khalifa.

In their messages, they noted that he was a statesman and a visionary leader and recalled his contribution to the strengthening of India-UAE bilateral relations and the welfare of the Indian community in the Gulf nation.

"I am deeply saddened to know about the passing away of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed. He was a great statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered," Modi said on Twitter. 

"The heartfelt condolences of the people of India are with the people of UAE. May his soul rest in peace," he said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Sheikh Khalifa laid the foundation for the India-UAE relationship.

"We deeply mourn the passing away of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. He will be remembered as a leader who modernized and empowered the United Arab Emirates. This laid the foundation of the transformation of the India-UAE relationship," Jaishankar said.

The UAE President was unwell for several years.

"The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has mourned to the UAE people, Arab and Islamic nations and the world the death of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan," the official WAM news agency tweeted.

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