New Delhi: August 16 marks the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On his first death anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Union home minister Amit Shah and a host of other ministers paid tributes to Vajpayee at his memorial “Sadaiv Atal”.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee died on August 16, 2018, after a period of prolonged illness, at the age of  93. 

Vajpayee, joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevaka Sangha (RSS) in 1947 and rose through the ranks to become a stalwart of the BJP and was the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term in office.

Vajpayee had a pan-India appeal and his flair for foreign policy and his initiatives were acknowledged globally.

Among many things that he was well known for his policy on Kashmir remains a remarkable example of his political acumen.

The three-time Prime Minister believed that the Kashmir issue could only be solved by following three simple principles - Kashmiriyat (inclusive Kashmiri culture), Insaniyat (humanism) and Jamhooriyat (democracy).

He had always looked beyond the political permutations and combinations of the Kashmir issue in order to solve it. Through it, he tried to extend a hand of friendship to Pakistan.

During his speech in 2003 in Srinagar about Kashmir, Vajpayee extended the hand of friendship to Pakistan but reminded the neighbours that the hand should be extended by both sides.

Vajpaye later explained his "hand of friendship" because it came at a time when his government had already stressed that there would be no dialogue between India and Pakistan unless it puts a full stop to cross-border terrorism.

There was bemusement among a certain section especially because Vajpayee had offered peace talks just two years after the Parliament was attacked by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists.

Even before that, the iconic BJP leader had travelled to Pakistan in the inaugural Delhi-Lahore bus in 1999 in a bid to foster friendly relations with the neighbouring nation. However, his efforts went in vain later that year after Pakistan's intrusion in Kargil.

Vajpayee's out of the box thinking and understanding of the Kashmir issue's complexities, won him many hearts in the Valley. When he passed away in 2018, not just the commoners of Kashmir but even separatist leaders mourned his loss.