TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered his condolences over the death of former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who died on Thursday at the age of 93.

In a message to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Saturday, Zarif expressed condolences over the death of the three-time Indian prime minister, who set off a nuclear arms race with Pakistan but later reached across the border to begin a groundbreaking peace process.

Vajpayee’s death was announced on Thursday by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences hospital, where he had been undergoing treatment for more than two months for a kidney infection and chest congestion.

Vajpayee served as India’s prime minister from 1998 to 2004 and led the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose current leader, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, called his predecessor’s death an “irreplaceable loss”.