Last rites of former UP governor Bhandari held

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: The last rites of former Uttar Pradesh governor and foreign secretary Romesh Bhandari, who died at a hospital in Gurgaon Saturday, were held here Sunday. He was 85.

    Bhandari’s mortal remains were cremated at Lodhi Road crematorium here Sunday in presence of family members, friends and senior political leaders including Vice President Hamid Ansari and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

    Former external affairs minister Natwar Singh, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice president Balbir Punj were also present.

    Bhandari died at the Medanta Hospital Saturday night after prolonged illness.

    Paying tributes to Bhandari, Punj said he had “a very illustrious career.”

    “He was a very social and helpful person. His departure from the world leaves a big void, particularly in the world of diplomacy,” Punj told IANS.

    Born on March 29, 1928 in Lahore, Bhandari had joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1950.

    Sharp in his analysis and arguments, Romesh Bhandari assisted late prime minister lndira Gandhi in several international summits.

    Congress leaders said he was instrumental in implementing Rajiv Gandhi’s foreign policy of improving relations with India’s neighbours.

    Bhandari played an active role in several preparatory meetings for the establishment of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).

    Foreign secretary in 1985-86, he became chairman of the Congress’ foreign cell after his retirement.

    Having served as the Lt Governor of Delhi and the governor of Tripura and Goa, he was made governor of Uttar Pradesh in July 1996 and held office till March 1998.