Indian Leader in ICU After Heart Surgery

PM's illness highlights lack of succession law, aging Cabinet
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2009 6:39 AM CST
Artists pray for the recovery of Manmohan Singh near a sand sculpture at the beach in Puri, India, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009. The Indian PM successfully underwent heart bypass surgery Saturday.   (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
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(Newser) – Indian PM Manmohan Singh is in intensive care as he recovers from heart bypass surgery, reports the Times of London, highlighting the country's lack of succession law and stoking fears about its preparedness for another terrorist attack. The foreign minister is acting as leader while a special committee has control of the country's nuclear arms. Singh's hospitalization has also underscored his age ahead of elections this spring—he is 76, while his main opponent is 81.

India's Economic Times reports that Singh has made "excellent progress" and is now eating a semi-solid diet. His doctor said that the prime minister was "recovering well and his vital parameters are stable" and had begun physiotherapy. The Congress Party says that Singh will remain PM if they win this spring, but speculation has begun that power will shift to 38-year-old Rahul Gandhi after the election.