New Delhi: Expressing grief over the death of Kuwait ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday termed him a “beloved leader” of the Arab world, a “close friend” of India and a “great statesman” of the world. Also Read - Changes Underway in All Sectors to Make This Decade India's: PM Modi During UoM's 100th Convocation

Sheikh Sabah, who drew on his decades as the oil-rich nation’s top diplomat to push for closer ties with Iraq after the 1990 Gulf War and solutions to other regional crises, died on Tuesday at a hospital in the United States. He was 91. Also Read - Blindfolded Martial Arts Master From Andhra Smashes 49 Coconuts Placed Around Student, Creates Guinness World Record | Watch

Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said, “My heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait. In this moment of grief our thoughts are with the Al-Sabah family and the people of the State of Kuwait,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet. Also Read - PM Modi Calls For Speedy Testing, Continued Vigilance Against COVID-19 Pandemic

Modi said Sheikh Sabah played a leading role in strengthening the bilateral relations and always took special care of the Indian community in Kuwait.

President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed his condolences to the late Kuwait Emir.

“Deeply saddened at the demise of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait. He was a great statesman, humanitarian leader and close friend of India. My condolences to HH’s family, Kuwaiti Govt and its people in this time of grief,” President Kovind said in a tweet.

In a Middle East replete with elderly rulers, Sheikh Sabah stood out for his efforts at pushing for diplomacy to resolve a bitter dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations that continues to this day.

He became Kuwait’s Emir in January 2006 after the death of Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah.

(With inputs from agencies)