China today paid rich tributes to former President Pranab Mukherjee, saying he was a veteran statesman and his death is a huge loss for India-China friendship.
“Former President Mukherjee was a veteran statesman of India. In his 50 years in legislative issues, he made positive commitments to China-India relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry representative Hua Chunying told a media instructions in Beijing, answering to an question.
Referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in 2014 and his meeting with Mukherjee, who was the 13th Indian President, she said after the meeting the two countries had issued a joint statement on building closer partnership.
“It is a heavy loss for China-India friendship and to India. We express deep condolences over his passing and extend sincere sympathies to the Indian government and his family,” spokesperson Hua added.
Pranab Mukherjee had visited China in 2016 and in a series of meetings with the Chinese leadership and the business community had sought greater market access in the world’s most populous country for Indian businesses.