Sachin Pilot to represent India at Chavez's funeral

New Delhi: Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot will represent India at the state funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas Friday.

Chavez, who died at the age of 58 on Tuesday after a two-year struggle with cancer, was in power for about 14 years. He was elected for his third six-year term in October last year.

Earlier, Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh condoled the passing away of Chavez, saying the charismatic and immensely popular leader leaves behind an enduring legacy of striving for social justice.

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the untimely demise of His Excellency President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias. The people of India join me in conveying our heartfelt condolence to his family and to the Government and people of Venezuela. India stands in solidarity with Venezuela in its hour of grief," he said in his condolence message.

Dr. Singh said Venezuela has lost a charismatic and immensely popular leader in President Chavez, who leaves behind an enduring legacy of striving for social justice.

"President Chavez also made a tremendous contribution to the development of closer relations among the countries of the developing world. We are grateful for his personal efforts in strengthening relations between India and Venezuela and will continue to work towards even closer relations with the friendly people of Venezuela," he added.

Chavez was admitted to the hospital last month to continue chemotherapy after two months in Cuba, where he had undergone his fourth round of cancer surgery since June 2011.