NEW DELHI  - Former Indian prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who engineered a thaw in the icy relationship with arch rival Pakistan, died on Friday aged 92, officials and colleagues announced.Gujral, who served as prime minister in a coalition government from April 1997 to March 1998, passed away on Friday afternoon at Gurgaon’s Medanta Medicity hospital, near Delhi, where he was admitted 11 days ago with a lung infection.Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as “a man of peace, an idealist who lived by his principles and an intellectual with the human touch” in a tribute on his official Twitter account.Gujral was born on December 4, 1919 in Pakistan’s Jhelum city into a family of Congress party workers. He began his career in politics as a student leader and member of the underground Communist Party of India. He was arrested in 1942 and jailed for his involvement in the anti-colonial Quit India movement.Gujral joined the ruling Congress party after India won independence and rose through the ranks to become minister of information and broadcasting under prime minister Indira Gandhi from 1969-71 and 1972-75.The soft-spoken Gujral ran foul of the Congress leadership when he refused to censor radio bulletins during the state of emergency imposed by Gandhi in 1975.  He then spent five years working as India’s ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1976 to 1980.Gujral left the Congress party in the 1980s and joined the socialist Janata Dal, serving twice as India’s foreign minister before being appointed prime minister in a coalition government in 1997.He resigned from the post in 1998 after the Congress party withdrew its support for the government, forcing mid-term elections. He effectively retired from politics the following year.The urbane politician was best known for the so-called Gujral Doctrine, an approach to foreign policy based on peaceful accommodation, arguing that India should treat its neighbours with generosity.As premier, he attempted to improve India’s strained ties with Pakistan, saying it was time for both nations to leave the past behind and forge a new relationship. Former colleague V Narayanasamy, a minister in the prime minister’s office, told NDTV news channel, “he was a very learned person. I was lucky to have worked with him... and will always remember him”.Gujral is survived by two sons, Naresh and Vishal. His elder son Naresh is a member of the Punjab-based Shiromani Akali Dal party and was elected to the upper house of parliament in 2007. Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has sent a condolence message to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the death of former India prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral.In his message, the prime minister said: "I have learnt with deep sense of grief about the departure of IK Gujral, former prime minister of Republic of India. In his death, the region has lost a noble and distinguished politician.