Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the death of Arun Jaitley, the former Finance Minister of India, saying that he has “lost a valued friend”.

“His insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels,” the PM said in a series of tweets.

PM Modi said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Arun Jaitley shared an “unbreakable bond”.

Recollecting his early days as a student leader, Modi said Arun Jaitley was at the forefront of protecting the democracy during the Emergency. “He became a much-liked face of our party, who could articulate the party programmes and ideology to a wide spectrum of society.”

During his long political career, Arun Jaitley held multiple ministerial responsibilities, which enabled him to contribute towards India’s economic growth, strengthening defence capabilities, creating people-friendly laws and enhancing trade with other nations.

Remembering the late leader, Modi said Jaitley was a “political giant, towering intellectual and legal luminary”.

He was an articulate leader who made a lasting contribution to India, he said.

The Prime Minister further in his condolence tweets said that Jaitley, with his great sense of humour and charisma, was admired by people across all sections of the society.

“He was multi-faceted, having impeccable knowledge about India’s Constitution, history, public policy, governance and administration,” the PM said.

Arun Jaitley passed away on Saturday at 12:07 pm at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, weeks after he was admitted to the hospital after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. He was 66.

Immediately after the news of the leader’s demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Arun Jaitley’s wife and son and expressed his condolences. The family insisted that the PM must not cancel his current foreign tour.

Modi is on a three-nation tour and is currently in UAE for a bilateral meet.