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J.N. Dixit passes away

By Amit Baruah


NEW DELHI, JAN. 3. The National Security Adviser, J.N. Dixit, passed away this morning following a massive cardiac arrest at his Safdarjang Lane residence.

Mr. Dixit, who would have turned 69 on January 8, was well known in the region — having been envoy to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan — as well as being responsible for opening India's first mission to Bangladesh. He was the Foreign Secretary from November 1991 to February 1994.

Mr. Dixit's aide said he collapsed in the bathroom. He was rushed to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences where efforts to revive him failed. The funeral will take place on Wednesday.

The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, said that Mr. Dixit served the country with distinction in a four-decade-long diplomatic career.

In his message, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said: "I have lost a close friend, a valued colleague and a great source of support and advice. The nation has lost a great diplomat and wise strategist. The loss is irreparable."

Mr. Dixit, who joined the Congress after the February 2002 carnage in Gujarat, was in the party's foreign affairs committee, and was appointed National Security Adviser in May last.

Mr. Dixit was also India's Special Representative in the high-level dialogue with China on the boundary issue. He and his Chinese counterpart, Dai Bingguo, have held two rounds of discussions on the border issue.

Mr. Dixit continued the back-channel discussions of his predecessor, Brajesh Mishra, with his Pakistani counterpart, Tariq Aziz. These quiet talks have often set the stage for major meetings in recent months between India and Pakistan.

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