Veteran Sri Lankan economist Gamani Corea — one of the chief architects of Sri Lanka’s first national plan in the late 1950s — passed away here on Saturday. He was 87.

A highly regarded economist, Dr. Corea was also a seasoned diplomat, who held key positions such as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1974 to 1984.

On his contributions, Saman Kaligama, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, told The Hindu: “He played an active role in the partial liberalisation exercise in Sri Lanka in from 1965 to 1970.” The Institute of Policy Studies appointed Dr. Corea its first chairman, he said. In his vibrant career serving different capacities, Dr. Corea worked closely with leading economists of the world, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In a statement released on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recalled that Dr. Corea’s work in the area of economic development was of significance for developing countries around the world.

“He lent his influential voice in support of some of the most important international initiatives aimed at the welfare of developing countries such as the Integrated Program for Commodities and the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative,” said Dr. Singh, recalling his three decades’ association with the Sri Lankan economist.

Dr. Corea was cremated in Colombo on Monday, which happened to be his 88th birthday.