Mandela a ‘true Gandhian’, says Indian PM

Mandela a ‘true Gandhian’, says Indian PM
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks to the media at Parliament House on his arrival to attend the winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on December 5, 2013.

NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday hailed South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela as a "true Gandhian" who would continue to inspire future generations after his death.

"A giant among men has passed away. This is as much India's loss as South Africa's. He was a true Gandhian," Singh's office tweeted after the news of Mandela's death at the age of 95.

"His life and work will remain a source of eternal inspiration for generations to come. I join all those who are praying for his soul."

In a separate statement, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee hailed Mandela as "a statesman, world leader and icon of inspiration of humanity".

Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi had his political baptism in South Africa after arriving there in 1893, with his experience of racism in the country shaping his future political activism back home.

India was the first country to sever trade relations with the apartheid regime in Pretoria back in the 1940s.

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