Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday expressed her deep shock at the death of veteran Marxist leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, describing it as an immense loss for Bangladesh.

“It (death) is also an immense loss for Bangladesh as well as myself... we have lost a tested friend and well wisher of ours,” a spokesman from the Prime Minister’s office told PTI quoting Ms. Hasina as saying in her instant reaction.

Ms. Hasina is now on an official tour of the western Jessore district and is expected to return to the capital later today, the spokesman said.

Ms. Hasina, who was Mr. Basu’s acquaintance for decades, kept a close watch on the health condition of the leader, who had ancestral links with Bangladesh.

In a statement issued by the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, Ms. Hasina expressed her “deep shock and profound sorrow” at Mr. Basu’s demise describing him as one of the leading political figures in the sub-continent and a great friend and well wisher of Bangladesh.

She also recalled Mr. Basu’s “enormous support” to the 1971 liberation war and said his death was a great loss not only for India but also for the region.

“On this sad occasion, we recall with deep gratitude Mr. Basu’s enormous support. I also remember his role and personal initiative in strengthening the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India, particularly the efforts he made for the conclusion of the Ganges water sharing treaty in 1996,” she said offering her heartfelt condolences.

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