Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has announced his retirement from politics.

The former prime minister made the surprise announcement in Mumbai Thursday at a rally celebrating his Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party's 25-year existence.

Mr. Vajpayee stepped down as prime minister in May after the BJP was defeated in national elections in May, 2004.

The May election prevented Mr. Vajpayee from serving a fourth term as India's prime minister. He served as prime minister from 1999 to 2004 and briefly in 1996 and 1998.

Mr. Vajpayee's tenure saw India conduct nuclear tests, make strides toward peace with Pakistan and achieve major economic progress.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.