New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday described late National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra as "a towering pillar of the country's strategic community".

"Mishra was a distinguished diplomat and a public servant of the highest calibre who served the country with great distinction. In his death, the nation has lost an outstanding public figure whose contributions in protecting and promoting national interests will be long remembered," the Vice President said.

Mishra, who would have turned 84 on Saturday, died on Friday night.

In his message, the Prime Minister said "I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing away of Brajesh Mishra who was one of the most able and influential public servants of his generation."

"In his demise, the country has lost a towering pillar of our strategic community and an outstanding diplomat and administrator," he said.

Singh said as the first NSA, Mishra "brought to the job his breadth of strategic vision, diplomatic finesse and above all, a sense of India’s destiny and place in global affairs."

Singh said he had as Prime Minister consulted Mishra on several occasions and "always found his counsel to be insightful and free from bias. He always thought about what was right for the country."

He said that as NSA and Principal Secretary to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, "Mishra displayed a grasp of administration and public affairs at the highest level that few will ever match."

"He will be remembered for his masterly handling of the aftermath of the nuclear tests in 1998 and for guiding Vajpayee’s peace initiatives in the neighbourhood," the Prime Minister said.


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