The demise of Jaswant Singhji is a big loss to the country as we lost a politician of the old school who used to be very dignified and committed to his responsibilities. He used to respect every person in uniform and was liked by everyone for his oratory and unassuming nature.
He was close to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Singh passed away after long illness at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi. He was 82.
While I was Chief of Army Staff, he was the Minister of External Affairs and we go to interact during the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meetings. He always used to participate in the meetings very actively and had lots of inputs to offer.
Although he never showed his anger in public, he became agitated after I briefed him about the autopsy report of Capt Saurabh Kalia (who was captured by Pakistani intruders on May 15, 1999). Pakistan had returned his mutilated body on June 9.