As his party absorbed a crushing election defeat, Indian Prime Minister
In a brief valedictory address, Singh said all Indians must respect the verdict of voters who drummed his Indian National
"In the last 10 years, we as a country have seen many successes and achievements that we should be proud of," Singh said in stiff, formal remarks delivered from his office in New Delhi. "Today, India is a far stronger country in every respect than it was a decade ago."
Singh, 81, turned in his resignation to India's president, the head of state, a formality that paves the way for the BJP's leader, Narendra Modi, to be named prime minister and appoint his Cabinet.
The Cambridge-educated Singh, a Sikh, was the first Indian prime minister from a minority community. As a respected economist and former finance minister, he presided over a doubling in size of India's economy, implemented key market reforms including reducing gas subsidies, and improved relations with rival Pakistan, with whom India is enjoying one of its longest periods of peace.
He enjoyed good relations with the United States, especially President
But the reserved, bookish prime minister fell from grace during his second five-year term when a series of major corruption scandals implicated top members of the Congress party and India's economic growth rate, which had hovered around 10%, slipped below 5% last year.
Despite his reputation for personal probity, Singh was widely criticized for failing to confront corrupt party bosses and for seeming ineffectual and even inaccessible. In 10 years, he gave just three full press conferences.
A recent book by a former Congress official, Sanjaya Baru, portrayed Singh as painfully passive and abdicating real power to the party's matriarch, Sonia Gandhi, the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Yet supporters say that Singh will be remembered in future years as having restored calm to the nation following deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 in Gujarat, where Modi was serving as chief executive.
"During his term, he never lost sight of the constant need to heal the wounds and pursue reconciliation at home," a former media adviser to Singh, Harish Khare, wrote last week in the weekly Outlook magazine.
In his farewell remarks, Singh wished the incoming government "every success."