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Sonia Gandhi expresses shock over former Japanese PM Abe's demise, says "he will be sorely missed"

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New Delhi, July 8: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Friday expressed her shock at the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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In her condolence message, Gandhi said, "For many years, Abe was a great friend and well-wisher of India. He did much to expand and deepen the bilateral relationship between our two countries." Recalling her meeting with him "very fondly and vividly", the Congress president said, "It is a huge misfortune that has befallen Japan and indeed, the entire international community. He will be sorely missed."

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi

Abe, one of his nation's most powerful and influential figures, died after being shot during a campaign speech on Friday in western Japan, according to NHK public television.

He was shot from behind minutes after he started his speech in Nara. He was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment but was not breathing and his heart had stopped, according to media reports. He was later pronounced dead despite emergency treatment.

India declares one-day national mourning for Shinzo AbeIndia declares one-day national mourning for Shinzo Abe

Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of the attack which shocked many in Japan.

Condoling the demise of his "dear friend" Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the former Japanese premier dedicated his life to making the world a better place and as a mark of India's deepest respect, one-day national mourning shall be observed on July 9.

In emotional posts on Twitter, the PM said that during his recent visit to Japan, he had the opportunity to meet Abe again and discuss many issues, but "little did I know that this would be our last meeting".

A timeline of the career of Japan's ex-PM Shinzo AbeA timeline of the career of Japan's ex-PM Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister Modi said he was shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of his "dearest friends". "He (Abe) was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator. He dedicated his life to make Japan and the world a better place," Modi said.

"My association with Mr. Abe goes back many years. I got to know him during my tenure as Gujarat CM and our friendship continued after I became PM. His sharp insights on economy and global affairs always made a deep impression on me," the Prime Minister said.

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