Beijing, Aug 20: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has described former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an "outstanding politician" who made significant contribution to development of the Sino-Indian relations and expressed condolences over his death.
Vajpayee, one of India's most charismatic leaders and inspirational orators, died on August 16 at the age of 93 in New Delhi.
"I am saddened to learn the passing away of A B Vajpayee former Prime Minister of Republic of India," Li said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sent on August 17.
The translated letter of Li was tweeted by the Indian Embassy here today.
"On behalf of the Chinese government and its people, I would like to extend my deep condolences and express my sincere sympathy to the bereaved family," he said.
"Vajpayee is an outstanding politician who devoted his life for national and social development and had earned widespread respect among the Indian people," the Chinese premier said.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, he paid an official visit to China (2003) and has made outstanding contribution to the development of India-China relations, he said. The Chinese side attaches great importance to China-India relations, and would like to work together with the Indian side to push forward bilateral ties to greater achievements, he said.
Vajpayee visited China in 2003 during which the two countries have setup the Special Representatives mechanism to resolve the boundary dispute.