New Delhi, Dec 18 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony laid a wreath at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi before winding up his two-day stay in the Vietnamese capital this morning.
The embalmed body of the iconic Vietnamese leader lies in state at this historic location where he had declared independence from French rule on September 2, 1945. The site was selected after his death in 1969.
Mr Antony spent an hour at the Presidential palace complex adjacent to the mausoleum. The majestic palace was built by the French in the beginning of the 20th century. Ho Chi Minh, on becaming the President in 1954, however, considered it too opulent to live in it. Instead, he lived in an austere cottage in the same complex for the rest of his life. The palace was used only for special official functions, especially when he had to receive world leaders and statesmen, a tradition which is being followed even now.
It was in the palance Ho Chi Minh had received Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954, an official statement said here.
''Deeply touched'' by the simple living of Ho Chi Minh, Mr Antony wrote in the visitors' book ''I pay my respect to the leader whose life and times inspires generations of people across the world.'' Mr Antony later went to Ho Chi Minh city on the second leg of his 3-day visit to Vietnam, the statement added.