India joins UN in observing International Mandela Day

United Nations: India today joined UN member states in observing International Mandela Day on the 95th birthday of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying the day also holds special significance for the country.
"On the occasion of the Nelson Mandela International Day, I compliment all member states of the United Nations for celebrating the values that Nelson Mandela has dedicated his life to," Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, Permanent Representative of India read Singh's message to UN during a special event of the UN General Assembly here.
"These values of peace, pluralism, justice, equality and dignity are also embodied in the United Nations Charter. In proclaiming 18 July as the Nelson Mandela International Day, the United Nations paid tribute to a great citizen of the world," Singh said.
The Prime Minister wished speedy recovery to Mandela, who was admitted to a hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection.
"Today, we stand with our African brothers and sisters in wishing Mandela a speedy recovery and good health," the Prime Minister said in his message.
He also invoked Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion as he said the day holds special significance for India.
"This day also holds special significance for India. The father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who led the struggle for our independence, honed his skills as a young lawyer in Nelson Mandela's homeland.
"Bound by history, more than a billion Indian hearts rejoice and take pride in the life and mission of Nelson Mandela, which stand for ideals that are enduring and universal in their appeal and relevance.
"The outpouring of love and the countless prayers that we have seen in recent days for Mandela only prove that there is something very deep and abiding in the human spirit that binds us across borders," he said.
People across the globe today joined South Africans in celebrating the 95th birthday of the country's first black president, with President Jacob Zuma saying that the ailing peace icon's medical condition has "steadily" improved.
Mandela, regarded as the founding father of South Africa's multi-racial democracy, was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on June 8. He has been hospitalised four times since December.