Stephen Solarz was a ‘true friend of India’: Indian envoy

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WASHINGTON - Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar has expressed deep grief at the passing away of former Congressman Stephen J Solarz, a “true friend of India” who “was ahead of the curve in supporting causes dear to India.”

“It is with a great sense of loss that we bid good-bye to a true friend of India,” she said in a message Thursday on the Nov 29 death of Solarz after a long battle with eosophagal cancer.

“As a mark of our respect for Solarz, and the deep affection in which he is held in India,” Shankar participated in the memorial services held in his honour at Temple Rodef Shalom here Thursday.

“While Congressman Solarz was widely acclaimed as a respected foreign policy leader and an energetic supporter of democracy and human rights all over the world, he had many ardent admirers in India, who greatly valued his tireless espousal of closer Indo-US relations,” she said.

“He was ahead of the curve in supporting causes dear to India, especially in the years before Indo-US relations reached the take-off stage in the late 1990s.

“He was driven by a strong conviction that India and the US were natural allies, and was one of the early architects of a policy of enhanced engagement between the two largest democracies in the world.

“His love for India was passionate and showed in his nickname - ‘the Congressman from Bombay’- and in his fondness for ‘Nehru jackets’.

“Our hearts go out to his family and friends, who have indelible memories of their long association with him. On behalf of the government and people of India, and on my own behalf, I convey our sincere condolences to them,” Shankar said.

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