Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela pursued the impossible, India's President Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday.
"He pursued an impossible goal for his people. We in India have long admired him and all that he stood for and we will always cherish him," he said at the memorial service for Madiba at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.
"Nelson Mandela was a visionary. He epitomised uncommon human ways that inspired all of mankind."
He compared Mandela to Indian icon Mahatma Gandhi, who lived by the saying passive resistance.
Mukherjee said Madiba had often acknowledged the legacy of Gandhi.
He sent his condolences to South Africa, and said Mandela's death was a great loss.
"South Africa, we stand by you in your hour of bereavement and share your sense of loss today," he said.
"Madiba is one of the most influential personalities of our century. He built a truly rainbow nation."