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PM makes stopover in Thailand, pays respects to late King

Narendra Modi waves at AFS Palam

Bangkok : En route to Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made a surprise stopover in the Thai capital where he paid respects to revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died last month after a protracted illness.

Prime Minister Modi laid a wreath and paid tributes to the late King Bhumibol, whose body is lying in state at the Grand Palace complex here.

“His Majesty will always be remembered for his compassion, foresight and commitment for the welfare of his people,” Modi wrote in his condolence message at the Grand Palace.

Describing the late King as “world statesman”, the Prime Minister said, “His (the King’s) departure from this world is also a loss for the international community” and has left a void.

“On behalf of the Government and the people of India, I convey our deepest condolences to the Royal family and the Government and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand,” he said.

Earlier, Modi was received at the airport by Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

Bhumibol, who was the world’s longest ruling monarch, passed away at the age of 88 on October 13. He was adored by many of his subjects and seen as an anchor of stability in a kingdom rocked by turbulent politics.

A one-year mourning period had been announced in Thailand following the monarch’s death. He will be cremated next year.

The mortal remains of King Bhumibol, also known as King Rama IX, have been kept here for people to pay their respects.

Thousands of Thais are still streaming into the gates of the Grand Palace to pay their respects to the late King.

Modi is headed to Japan for a three-day visit during which the two countries are expected to sign a civil nuclear deal besides discussing ways to step up cooperation in areas like trade, investment and security.

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