Former federal minister Jaswant Singh, 82, dies in New Delhi

 Former federal minister Jaswant Singh, 82, dies in New Delhi

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New Delhi, September 27, 2020
The National Dawn
Former federal minister Jaswant Singh, 82, passed away in New Delhi. Wife Sheetal Kanwar and son Manvendra Singh survive him.
He died Sunday at 6:55 am following a cardiac arrest at Delhi’s Army Hospital (Research & Referral). He received treatment in this hospital since this June. He was ailing for the last six years. Singh had been ill after a fall at his home in August 2014.
In a statement the hospital said, “It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Honourable Major Jaswant Singh (Retired), former Cabinet Minister of government of India at 0655 hours on 27 September 2020. He was admitted on June 25, 2020 and being treated for Sepsis with Multiorgan Dysfunction Syndrome and effects of Severe Head Injury (Optd). He had a cardiac arrest this morning. He was COVID negative.”
Jaswant Singh was a founding member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was one of India’s longest serving parliamentarians, having been a member of one or the other house almost continuously between 1980 and 2014.
He had served as Foreign Minister (Dec 5, 1998- Dec 5, 2002), Defence Minister (Jan 2 2000- Oct 18 2001) and Finance Minister (July 1 2002-May 12, 2004) in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet.
Singh — a four-time member of the Lower House and elected to the Upper House five times — was the external affairs minister during the Kandahar hijacking case, and had escorted Mulana Masood Azhar and two other terrorists in lieu for the release of hostages on board Indian Airlines IC-814 that was hijacked on December 24, 1999.
Singh was born on January 3, 1938 in Jasol, Barmer, Rajputana Agency in British India. He studied in Ajmer’s Mayo College and was an officer in the Indian Army in from 1957 to 1966. He was a Major with Indian Army’s Central India Horse Unit known as 21st King George V’s Own Horse before independence. He was in action in two wars – China (1962) and Pakistan (1965).  The Central India Horse is now a tank regiment of the Indian Army’s XXI Corps (Southern Command). He later resigned to pursue a career in politics.
Singh had a bitter falling out with BJP in 2014 after it denied him a Lok Sabha ticket of his choice from Barmer in Rajasthan. He contested the 2014 general election, which was his last as an independent, but lost. Singh was close to Vajpayee and senior BJP leader LK Advani. BJP expelled him twice from the party in 2009 and 2014. The parliamentary board of the BJP expelled him in 2009 following the release of his book Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence. BJP readmitted him after 10 months. His second expulsion in 2014 came because he defied party orders and challenged the BJP’s decision of not naming him from Barmer constituency.
Singh led the panel during talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott after the US imposed sanctions on India following the nuclear tests in 1998.The two-year negotiations paved the way for the visit of the then US President Bill Clinton, considered to be a turning point in India-US relations.

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