LOCAL OBITUARIES

PASSINGS: Inder Kumar Gujral

Inder Kumar Gujral

Former prime minister of India

Former Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, 92, who gave a new impetus to improving India's relations with its neighbors during a term in office that lasted less than a year, died Friday in New Delhi after a yearlong illness, said Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

Gujral had been hospitalized earlier in November with a lung infection.

Born Dec. 4, 1919, in the Punjab region of what is now Pakistan, Gujral joined India's freedom movement in the early 1940s and was imprisoned in 1942 for opposing British colonial rule.

He spent many years in the Congress party and was a minister under Indira Gandhi's Cabinet. Later, he was India's ambassador to what was then the Soviet Union. An erudite and well-read leader, Gujral quit the Congress party in the mid-1980s to join the Janata Dal, or the Peoples' party.

Gujral became India's 12th prime minister when he headed a shaky coalition government in 1997.

Although his term lasted only 11 months, Gujral made a mark in India's foreign relations by promoting friendly ties with its neighbors, including archrival Pakistan.

— Los Angeles Times wire reports

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