India has called for a one-day state mourning to be observed on Saturday following the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who died on Friday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid condolences to Sheikh Khalifa, whom he regarded as a “great statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered”. As a mark of respect, the national flag will be flown at half-mast on all buildings where it is often flown and no entertainment will be allowed on the day of mourning.
Sheikh Khalifa, 73, had been battling illness for a long period. He was the eldest son of President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder president of the UAE. He took charge as the president of the country and ruler of Abu Dhabi in November 2004 after he was elected to be the successor to his father, the first president of the country since 1971. His half-brother Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan will take over as the successor to the throne, Reuters reported.
Sheikh Khalifa played a huge role in giving UAE global recognition and leading the country through one of the worst financial crises that it faced in 2008.