Condolences continued to pour in from all quarters as the world woke up to the shocking news of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's untimely demise.
Leaving a strong legacy behind, the BJP stalwart breathed her last at the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here on Tuesday.
"Deeply shocked to learn of the passing away of #SushmaSwaraj, a senior political leader of India & former External Affairs Minister. Heartfelt condolences & deepest sympathies to the Govt & people of India as well as to the bereaved family members," said Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
The former minister was known for her witty quips and was always a "tweet away." Despite her busy schedules while on official visits overseas, Swaraj made sure to interact with the Indian diaspora, always ensuring them of the Indian government's support. She was one of the most citizen-friendly and accessible ministers that India has seen.
"Leaving behind indelible memories. We @IndiaUNNewYork will always cherish memories of her @UN Farewell Madam @SushmaSwaraj #RIPSushmaSwaraj," tweeted India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin.
"#TeamMEA (Ministry of External Affairs) mourns the sad demise of former External Affairs Minister #sushmaswaraj. Enjoying immense respect within the Ministry and outside, for her compassionate and amiable personality, she has left a lasting legacy for putting people at the core of Indian diplomacy," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
The Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Hans Dannenberg Castellanos also condoled the loss and told , "The diplomatic community in Delhi joins the nation in sorrow on the sad demise of a great woman in Indian politics. During her tenure as Foreign Minister, she strengthened the position of India in the world.
Under her leadership, India undertook several evacuation efforts, including those from Yemen, Iraq and Libya to name a few.
Speaking to the Indian community in Qatar last year, she highlighted that India had rescued over 1,00,000 people from such regions.
"I am proud of the fact that during the evacuations in Yemen, we not only rescued 5,000 Indian citizens but 2,000 foreign nationals as well. We rescued people from countries who everybody looked to for rescue operations, like the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and 45 countries like these and got their citizens back safely because we were the only ones being able to conduct operations at that time," she told the gathered Indian Diaspora in Doha on October 29 last year.
Citing her health, Swaraj stepped down from active politics after holding her EAM post for a full tenure under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership from 2014 to 2019. She was succeeded by one of India's top former diplomats, S Jaishankar, who was a surprise addition to Modi's cabinet in his second tenure as India's Prime Minister.
"Deeply shocked to learn of the passing away of Smt Sushma Swaraj. Difficult to accept this news. The whole nation grieves, the Foreign Ministry even more so," Jaishankar tweeted.
Swaraj implemented the Modi-government's foreign policy on a global scale, including strengthening India's fight against terrorism.
According to sources at AIIMS, the 67-year-old BJP leader felt restless at 9 pm and reached the hospital at around 9:30 pm in an ambulance. A team of doctors tried to revive her for 70 to 80 minutes but failed in their attempt. She was declared dead at 10:50 pm.
( With inputs from ANI )