India to send high-level delegation to Mandela's funeral

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New Delhi, Dec 6: India will be represented by a "high-level" delegation at the funeral of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela who died early morning in Johannesburg, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday. The leader's funeral will take place on December 15, South African President Jacob Zuma said late on Friday.

"Both Prime Minister and President have indicated the reverence that we in India hold Nelson Mandela in. His death is not only a loss for South Africa but for India and the world too. It is certain that a very high-level delegation will go from India," spokesperson in the MEA said.

"There is still some time between the funeral is officially held and visiting dignitaries are being asked to attend that...Our High Commission is in touch with South African government (on the issue)...," he added.

The anti-apartheid icon served as the president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 and was recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award and a well-known Gandhian.

In his condolence message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described his as a "giant among men" who not only represented the conscience of the world, but also remained a beacon of hope for those struggling against oppression and injustice long after he had led his own people to victory over such ills." Mandela died early today at his home in the suburb of Houghton in Johannesburg following protracted illness. He was 95.


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