Dubai | Jagran World Desk: As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary of United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Government of India has decided the country will observe one day’s state mourning on May 14, the Ministry of Home Affairs said. 

The National Flag will be flown at half-mast on the day of mourning throughout India on all buildings where the National Flag is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment on the day, MHA added.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and the ruler of Abu Dhabi, died on Friday, state media reported quoting the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

"The Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic nation and the world over the demise of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE," Emirates News Agency WAM said in a statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the news and tweeted "I am deeply saddened to know about the passing away of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed. He was a great statesman and visonary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered. The heartfelt condolences of the people of India are with the people of UAE. May his soul rest in peace.

Sheikh Khalifa served as the President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi since November 3, 2004.

The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has announced 40 days of mourning for the passing of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Khaleej Times reported.

Flags will be flown at half-mast and ministries, departments, federal and local institutions will suspend work starting today.

Under the constitution, vice-president and premier Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, will act as president until the federal council which groups the rulers of the seven emirates meets within 30 days to elect a new president.

Sheikh Khalifa, who was born in 1948, came to power in 2004 in the richest emirate Abu Dhabi and became the head of state.

He is expected to be succeeded as ruler of Abu Dhabi by his half-brother Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, known as MbZ.

Mohammed bin Zayed has been the de facto ruler of the US-allied UAE, particularly after Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014, following which he has rarely been seen in public.

"The UAE has lost its righteous son and leader of the 'empowerment phase' and guardian of its blessed journey," MbZ said on Twitter, praising Khalifa's wisdom and generosity.

Condolences started pouring in from Arab leaders including Bahrain's king, Egypt's president and Iraq's prime minister.

Abu Dhabi, which holds most of the Gulf state's oil wealth, has held the presidency since the founding of the UAE federation by Khalifa's father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, in 1971. 

(With inputs from agencies)

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta