Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join several world leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the former U.S. President Bill Clinton, at the funeral service for Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, even as India marks an official day of mourning on Sunday.
Mr. Modi, who flew to Singapore on Saturday evening, will return to Delhi on Sunday after attending the funeral and meeting Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and the former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. He will personally condole with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s son, at the funeral.
Mr. Modi is accompanied by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and senior officials. After his return, he will begin preparations for his next international foray, a nine-day visit to Europe and Canada from April 9. On Saturday, he tweeted his expectations from the visit, saying “My France, Germany and Canada visit is centred around supporting India’s economic agenda & creating jobs for our youth.”
Leaders of 23 nations to attend
Twenty-three countries will be represented at the funeral service, a Singapore government release said.
British Secretary of State William Hague, Israel President Reuven Rivlin and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov are among the leaders participating. The U.S. is sending a high-powered contingent of leaders and officials who interacted closely with Lee Kuan Yew during his tenure at Singapore’s helm, including the former President Bill Clinton, the former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and the former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
The number of leaders attending the funeral is significant and unprecedented for a leader who demitted office more than two decades ago. Asian leaders include royal dignitaries like the King of Malaysia, the Sultan of Brunei, the Emir of Qatar and the King and Queen of Bhutan.
The bustling metropolis of Singapore is expected to come to a complete halt as the Minister Mentor’s body is laid to rest, with the procession scheduled to start at half past noon Singapore time (10 a.m. IST).
Thousands are expected to line the way of the cortege, and traffic and the underground metro will come to a stop as every citizen will stand together for a minute’s silence that will be announced by a siren call across the city-state.
The Singapore Defence Forces will conduct the ceremony, which will include a 21-gun salute and an F-16 fighter flypast in a “missing man” V-shaped formation meant to honour fallen soldiers and dignitaries.