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An advocate for stronger US-India ties, says Obama on Kalam

U.S. President Barack Obama has condoled the death of former Indian president > A.P.J. Abdul Kalam describing him as an advocate for stronger US-India relations, and who worked to deepen the two countries’ space cooperation.

“A scientist and statesman, Kalam rose from humble beginnings to become one of India’s most accomplished leaders, earning esteem at home and abroad,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Extending his “deepest condolences to the people of India” on behalf of the American people, Mr. Obama noted > Kalam’s “tenure as India’s 11th president witnessed unprecedented growth in U.S.-India ties”.

“An advocate for stronger U.S.-India relations, > Kalam worked to deepen our space cooperation, forging links with NASA during a 1962 visit to the United States,” he said.

“Suitably named as the People’s President, his humility and dedication to public service served as an inspiration to millions of Indians and admirers around the world.”

Meanwhile, the US media highlighted his role in advancing India’s nuclear, space and missile programmes.

The influential New York Times in an obit said Kalam’s “role in advancing India’s nuclear programmes made him one of his country’s most beloved figures”.

“Kalam’s celebrity could be traced to 1998, when India detonated five nuclear devices in the northwestern desert, to widespread international condemnation,” it said.

“Described at the time as an ‘impish, shaggy-haired bachelor’ of 66, he was one of the most exuberant boosters of the country’s nuclear programme,” the Times said.

“Kalam spent a little time outside India. For him, it was a point of pride that India had developed its bomb without much help from foreign powers. And he described himself as thoroughly Indian,” the Times said.

“I am completely indigenous!” he told the newspaper in 1998, it recalled.

Time magazine described Kalam as “one of India’s most renowned rocket scientists who served as the nation’s 11th president”.

Kalam, it recalled told TIME in a 1998 interview that he developed an early fascination with flight while growing up on the south Indian isle of Rameswaram.

“Then there were a lot of birds on the island,” he was quoted as saying, “and I used to watch their beautiful flight paths. That got me interested in aeronautics.”

The Washington Post noted Kalam was “a scientist who was known as the father of the country’s military missile programme”.

“He was credited with helping develop his country’s first space satellites,” it said. “In the 1980s, he helped design the nuclear-capable Prithvi and Agni ballistic missiles.”

“He played a crucial role when India tested its nuclear weapons in 1998,” the Post said noting, “The test resulted in sanctions against the country but helped elevate Kalam’s to the status of folk hero in his country.”

Several Indian-American organisations have also offered condolences on the death of “India’s missile man”.

The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) said along with the Indian-American community it mourns the “loss of our beloved and eminent scientist” who “was an irreplaceable role model for the young and passionate of India”.

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (1931-2015)

Timeline

  • » 1931: Born Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam on October 15, in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu.
  • » 1954: Graduates in Physics from Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, in 1954.
  • » 1960: Gains degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology.
  • » 1969: Transferred to ISRO from the DRDO.
  • » 1980: India enters the space club by putting the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit with the first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III), developed under the stewardship of Dr. Kalam.
  • » 1980s-1990s: As the chief of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, he was responsible for the development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI Missiles.
  • » 1992-1999: works as Chief Scientific Advisor to the PM and Secretary of the DRDO.
  • » 1998: India conducts the Pokhran II nuclear tests in May with Dr. Kalam as the chief project coordinator.
  • » 1999-2001: Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India.
  • » 2002-2007: President of India

>A.P.J. Abdul Kalam passes away

The 11th President of India, widely acclaimed as the "people's President", passed away on July 27, 2015 after collapsing during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong.

>Mr. Kalam through the years

A look at photos from the archives of The Hindu of the former president.

  • » Mr. Kalam's recent article in The Hindu talks about neutrino research. >Read here.

  • » Failed in my dream of becoming pilot: Mr. Kalam says in new book. >Read here.

  • » Memorabilia of former President at his Rameswaram house attract visitors. >Know more.

  • » Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's vision for the nation. A message on Teacher's Day from the former President, >exclusively for The Hindu In School.


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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 6:25:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/apj-abdul-kalam-tribute-an-advocate-for-stronger-usindia-ties-says-obama-on-kalam/article7476667.ece

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