Skip navigation

Saturday December 1, 2012

Former prime minister promoted friendly ties among neighbours, including Pakistan

Associated Press

NEW DELHI -- Former Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who gave a new impetus to improving India's relations with its neighbours during a term in office that lasted less than a year, died Friday after a yearlong illness. He was 92.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Gujral died in a hospital near New Delhi, where he was admitted 10 days ago with a lung infection.

Gujral joined India's freedom movement in the early 1940s and was imprisoned in 1942 for opposing British colonial rule.

He spent many years in the Congress party and was a minister under Indira Gandhi's cabinet. Later, he was India's ambassador to what was then the Soviet Union. An erudite and well-read leader, Gujral quit the Congress party in the mid-1980s to join the Janata Dal, or the Peoples' party.

Gujral became India's 12th prime minister when he headed a shaky coalition government in 1997.

Although his term lasted only 11 months, Gujral made a mark in India's foreign relations by promoting friendly ties with its neighbours, including archrival Pakistan.

Popularly referred to as the "Gujral Doctrine," the policy was one of generosity in trade and other bilateral relations without expecting reciprocity from India's smaller neighbours.

His funeral has been scheduled for Saturday in New Delhi.

Back to top