President of India Pranab Mukherjee would lead Indian Delegation to Nelson Mandela’s Funeral in South Africa. The Delegation left India today. Prior to his departure for South Africa, President Mukherjee said, “It is with sadness that I leave for South Africa to attend the State Memorial Service in honour of Dr. Nelson Mandela who left his worldly abode on 5 December 2013.
Accompanying me is a delegation which includes UPA Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Anand Sharma, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Smt Sushma Swaraj and Members of Parliament Shri Sitaram Yechuri and Shri Satish Chandra Mishra as well as senior officers of the Government.
Participation in the Memorial Service by a delegation, representing the cross-section of our political spectrum reflects the high degree of love and respect which Dr. Mandela commanded in India. He was a household name and someone, we saw as one of our own.
His life was a living example of human strength and courage in the face of brute force and gross injustice. He was the last of the giants who led the world’s struggles against the colonialism and his struggle held special significance for us as we saw in him a reflection of our own prolonged anti-colonial struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi.
India and South Africa are countries and peoples who have shared both the tragedy of colonialism and the triumph of the free spirit. Today, we stand together united in our determination to realize common goals and build a new world.
My delegation and I hope to convey to the Government and people of South Africa the intense grief and personal loss that we in India feel over the sad demise of the great soul – our beloved ‘Madiba’.”