Hyderabad, Oct 15: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, despite being graduated from IIT Mumbai, was scared of helicopters for a long time. He carried the fear with him even when he was the Chief Minister of Goa.
However, his fear was permanently defused by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam when he visited Goa as the President of India.
Addressing the gathering after renaming the Missile Complex after Dr Kalam here, Parrikar said he always felt that the helicopters ‘did not fly the way' he envisaged.
"I had this problem for a long time. I always felt that the helicopters flew in an odd manner. But after flying with Dr Kalam, I must admit that I was a changed man. He explained to me in detail about helicopter flights," Parrikar said.
Interestingly, the Defence Minister landed at the venue in a helicopter accompanied by his Scientific Advisor Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
Aiming for complete self-reliance in missile technology
Parrikar said the government has already put in a five-year plan to achieve complete self-reliance in missile technology.
"Dr Kalam was like a seeker of a missile to all us. He guided us in executing the projects. We have identified areas that we need to focus on close the gaps," the minister said.
Lauding Dr Kalam's efforts in giving birth to ‘Vision 2020,' Parrikar said most of the points highlighted in it were achievable.
"Dr Kalam knew that the future generation belonged to youngsters. I am happy that I have landed here today on his birthday. This is Dr Kalam's Karma Bhoomi and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) is his baby," the minister said.
Aero India to stay in Bengaluru for now
Later during an interaction with the media on the sidelines, Parrikar said that the Aero India show will stay in Bengaluru for the time being.
He claimed the Karnataka government had written to the Defence Ministry to shift out the show citing traffic congestion and other issues.
"There are many issues being brought to our notice by the state government in conducting the show in Bengaluru. But, I have decided to continue with Bengaluru for the next show as well," he said to a query posed by OneIndia.
The 11th edition of Aero India is scheduled to be held in 2017, though the Ministry of Defence has not yet announced the final dates.
To another query on opening up the combat front for women in the Army and Navy, Parrikar said all aspects are being studied. The Indian Air Force Chief recently had said that women will now be inducted into the fighter streams.
Parrikar also inaugurated the Outdoor RCS Test Facility (ORANGE) at Dundigal and the Kautilya Advanced Research Centre at RCI.
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia and tweets @writetake.)