New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday condoled the death of former West Bengal chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray and said he had contributed "immensely to the processes of nation building" as well as to Indo-US ties.
"As ambassador to the US in the early `90s, he contributed to the strengthening of Indo-US ties," Manmohan Singh said in a condolence message.
Ray, 90, died of renal failure in Kolkata Saturday.
The prime minister said Ray had "contributed immensely to the processes of nation building in various fields".
"In Ray`s death, we have lost a staunch nationalist, a modernist and a widely respected leader, whose work spanned a diverse range of areas in public life. I will always remember him as a senior colleague of the Indian National Congress and a very valued friend," Manmohan Singh said.
A prominent barrister, Ray started his political career as a cabinet minister in West Bengal in the late 1950s and was later chief minister of West Bengal from 1972 to 1977, the prime minister recalled in his message. As chief minister, Ray played a key role in tackling the Naxalite problem and in the rehabilitation of refugees from Bangladesh, he added.
"Ray also served as union education minister and governor of Punjab."