New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nelson Mandela Day on Saturday, paid tribute to the former South African president, whom he described as a 'shining beacon of democracy'.

"Remembering the apostle of peace, a shining beacon of democracy and a champion of equality, the beloved Madiba on Nelson Mandela Day," Modi said.

Mandela, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, was the president of South Africa between 1994 and 1999.

In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 18, Mandela's birthday, as 'Nelson Mandela International Day' recognizing his contribution to peace and freedom.