MANAMA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday recalled his longtime association with former Cabinet colleague Arun Jaitley and said he cannot imagine that he was so far in Bahrain while his dear friend has gone away forever. Jaitley died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on Saturday afternoon after battling multiple health issues for the last several months. He was 66. He was admitted there on August 9. “I cannot imagine that I am here in Bahrain while my dear friend Arun Jaitley is no more. Some days ago, we lost our former external affairs minister Behen Sushma Ji. Today my dear friend Arun went away,” Prime Minister Modi said. #WATCH PM Modi while addressing the Indian community in Bahrain, reacts on the demise of #ArunJaitley: I can’t imag…— ANI (@ANI) 1566665700000Addressing the Indian community at the National Stadium here, Modi became emotional while recalling his decades-old friendship with Jaitley. “At a time when people are celebrating Janmashtami, I am mourning the death of my friend Arun,” Modi said, amid silence in the audience. The Prime Minister said on the one hand, he is bound by duty, and on the other his heart is full of emotions. Earlier today, PM Modi described Arun Jaitley as a “valued friend” whose insights and nuanced understanding of matters had “very few parallels”. Modi, who is in the UAE on an official tour, said the former finance minister was full of life, blessed with wit, a great sense of humour and charisma. Arun Jaitley Ji was a political giant, towering intellectual and legal luminary. He was an articulate leader who ma…— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1566632680000Official sources said the Prime Minister spoke to the the wife and son of Jaitley, who died at AIIMS on Saturday, and expressed his condolences. Both of them insisted that he does not cancel his foreign tour. In his tweets, Modi said Jaitley was admired by people across all sections of society, dding that he was multi-faceted, had impeccable knowledge about India’s Constitution, history, public policy, governance and administration. “With the demise of Arun Jaitley Ji, I have lost a valued friend, whom I have had the honour of knowing for decades. His insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels. He lived well, leaving us all with innumerable happy memories. We will miss him!” he said. Noting that Jaitley held multiple ministerial responsibilities during his long political career, he said it enabled him to contribute towards India’s economic growth, strengthening our defence capabilities, creating people friendly laws and enhancing trade with other nations. Modi also recalled his contribution to the BJP. “BJP and Arun Jaitley Ji had an unbreakable bond. As a fiery student leader, he was at forefront of protecting our democracy during the Emergency. He became a much liked face of our Party, who could articulate the Party programmes and ideology to a wide spectrum of society,” he said. In Video:PM Narendra Modi pays tribute to Arun Jaitley, says ‘can’t imagine he is no more’