Dhaka/Kuala Lumpur, Jul 28: World leaders on Tuesday paid glowing tributes to late former President A P J Abdul Kalam, hailing him as an inspirational figure in South Asia and lauding his scientific achievements.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina described Kalam as "a rare combination of a great statesman, acclaimed scientist and a source of inspiration to the young generation of South Asia" and said his death is an "irreparable loss to India and beyond." [Updates: Dr Abdul Kalam to be accorded state funeral on July 30]
Hasina said, "We are deeply shocked at the sad demise of former President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, one of the most famous sons of India and a great scientific mind of his time. He was highly respected in Bangladesh as well."
"His invaluable contribution to India's rise in the sphere of science and technology would be remembered forever by all. He was a source of inspiration to the young generation of South Asia, someone who gave wings to their dreams," she said.
Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief Khaleda Zia said that "as a nuclear scientist, he engaged himself in the welfare of the people."
Expressing his condolences, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said, "Saddened by the death of Dr Kalam. He was an inspirational figure to millions of people including me. We have a lot to learn from his life."
Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala recalled Kalam's contributions in leading India on the path of scientific advancement and progress.
"Nepal has lost a good friend and I have lost an honoured and ideal personality," Koirala said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also expressed deep condolences on the demise of the former Indian President.
Kalam, 83, died yesterday after he suffered a massive cardiac arrest and collapsed during a lecture at IIM Shillong.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak also condoled the loss, saying, "His passing is a loss to the scientific community."
Condoling Kalam's death, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, "Saddened to learn of the passing of India's former President Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam.
Dr Kalam had humble beginnings, but rose to become a top scientist at India's defence research organisation.
He then served as the country's 11th President from 2002 to 2007, and was widely regarded as the 'People's President'."
Bhutanese Premier Tshering Tobgay said, "Saddened to hear of the passing of Dr Abdul Kalam, India's iconic president -- one who was loved by all people, especially the youth of India."