Former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh passed away early Sunday, said an official statement from the R&R Hospital here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top BJP leaders paid rich tributes to Singh, saying that he served India diligently and will be remembered for his unique perspective on matters of politics and society. "Despite the best efforts of the attending team of specialists to resuscitate him, he could not be revived and passed away at 6.55 a.m. on September 27 2020".
His funeral will take place later today at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, family sources said. The Prime Minister remembered the role played by Singh, which included his stints as the External Affairs and Finance Minister during the tenure of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
Singh was later let back in, but he distanced himself from the party in 2014 and unsuccessfully stood for election as an independent candidate.
After the 1998 nuclear tests by India, Jaswant Singh was deputed by then Prime Minister Vajpayee to engage the USA in strategic talks.
Speaker Om Birla also remembered Singh as an efficient politician and Army officer.
A veteran BJP leader, Jaswant Singh, had first served in the Indian Army before joining politics. During Atal ji's Government, he handled crucial portfolios and left a strong mark in the worlds of finance, defence and external affairs. He wrote, "Jaswant Singh Ji served our nation diligently, first as a soldier and later during his long association with politics". As the foreign minister, Singh had escorted Masood Azhar, Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtak Ahmad Zargar to Kandahar in Afghanistan after the Vajpayee government released the three terrorists to save the lives of 176 passengers and 15 crew members onboard Indian Airlines flight IC814.
Jaswant Singh was a five-time Member of Parliament (MP) in Rajya Sabha, starting 1980, the year BJP was formed. He also contributed to the strengthening of the BJP.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said also condoled the demise of the former minister. "He was supportive without being interfering, was always available for advice & never made me feel like my work didn't matter".
He was also a prolific writer and authored several books in Hindi and English.