New Delhi, August 17: A day after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) following prolonged illness, France on Friday condoled his demise saying the departed leader’s name will remain linked to Indo-French friendship as he shaped the strategic partnership that the two countries share. Also Read - 'Several Countries Want to Repatriate Citizens on Lines of Vande Bharat Mission', Says Civil Aviation Ministry

“It was with deep grief that we learnt of the demise of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. France offers its condolences to his family as well as the Indian authorities and people,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Also Read - Heartbreaking! Twitter Sheds Tears Over 'World's Worst Humanitarian Crisis' as War Tears Yemen

“Poet, politician, visionary, he left his mark on India’s history. His name remains linked to the Indo-French friendship, which he shaped by launching the strategic partnership that has united our two countries since 1998,” it added. Also Read - French President Macron Announces Significant Lifting of Restrictions

The former PM breathed his last at 5:05 PM yesterday. He was admitted to the hospital on June 11 and was said to be stable for the last nine weeks but his health suffered a setback on Sunday and worsened on Wednesday.

“It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support system. Despite the best of efforts, we have lost him today,” the hospital said, confirming his demise.

Several roads, especially in central Delhi, schools, including the private ones, and government offices were closed for the public in view of the former Prime Minister’s last rites.