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Dharamshala — Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the democratically elected political leader of the Tibetan people on Tuesday expressed his condolence over the sudden demise of APJ Abdul Kalam saying that Tibetan people hold him in the highest of regards.

The Indian national flag was flown at half-mast in front of the Kashag secretariat of the Central Tibetan Administration as a mark of respect for the late former President.

In his condolence message, Sikyong said, "It is with the deepest sorrow that I learned of His Excellency Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam's sudden passing away on 27 July in Shillong, Meghalaya. The fact that he was giving a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management when he collapsed on stage, reflects his deep conviction to impart knowledge to the youth of the nation till his last breath."

"Dr Kalam's sudden demise is a loss to not just India but the entire world. Therefore, on this sad occasion, I, on behalf of the Central Tibetan Administration and the entire Tibetan people, extend my deepest sympathies and condolence to the whole nation of India," Sikyong expressed.

Referring to Dr Kalam as one of India's brightest minds, Sikyong said," Dr A P J Abdul Kalam is the perfect epitome of the new aspirational India having lived his entire life in the pursuit of knowledge. From his humble beginnings in Tamil Nadu to becoming the President of India through sheer power of education, he inspired a whole generation of young Indians with his simple and straightforward messages."

"A visionary and a humanist, Dr Kalam was also known as the 'missile man of India' for his immense contribution to India's missile systems development including the Prithvi, Trishul, Akash, Nag and Agni missiles," Sikyong said.

"Even during his term as the 11th President of India, he was a genial figure, refreshingly free of pride and prejudice, which instantly endeared him to the public earning the epithet 'People's President'."

"Dr Kalam was also close to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and during their numerous meetings, they have discussed the various religious traditions and its contribution to modern science," Sikyong said, adding, Tibetan people hold him in the highest of regards.

Dr Kalam, 84, passed away in Shillong earlier Monday after he was admitted to a hospital in the city, according to media reports.

The former president collapsed during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management. He was in a critical condition and had been admitted to the city's Bethany Hospital.

APJ Abdul Kalam served as the 11th President on India from 2002 to 2007.

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