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1974 Pokhran nuclear test, Kalam's best moment

Written by: Staff
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Bangalore, June 6 (UNI) ''The best moment in my life was when India became a nuclear power following the successful nuclear test in Pokhran on May 18, 1974,'' President A P J Abdul Kalam said today.

Taking questions from IBM employees at the Innovation and Leadership Forum, organised by the global IT major here, he said he would cherish the moment most in his life as it remained one of the notable achievements of the nation. ''When the blast took place, the earth jolted...we were delighted,'' he added.

Mr Kalam said the other equally memorable moments were the first rocket launched by Indian space scientists and the successful testing of Agni long range missile in 1989. Another unforgettable moment was when the first light weight caliper, created with the help of composite metal used in Indian satellites, was worn by a polio-stricken boy.

''When I visited a hospital, I saw children afflicted with polio struggle with heavy calipers weighing three kg. Our space scientists used FRO metal, used in spacecrafts, to make calipers that weighed just 300 gm. This boy, after wearing it, felt so happy and even rode a bicycle, while his mother cried with joy. That was a happiest moment in my life,'' the President said.

Asked what made India special, Mr Kalam said 100 crore plus people belonging to multi culture and multi religion and who spoke multi language, but lived in a single society made the country special. ''Where else can you see this. That is why India is so special,'' he added.

To a question on the role of technology in rural transformation, the first citizen said technology should be used to bring about value addition to agricultural produce, dairy products or anything that an Indian village produced.

He said the country should focus on development of human capital by giving knowledge and empowerment to the people, and attaining energy independence by maximising use of solar power, bio fuel and nuclear energy.

UNI RS GD MSJ GC1617

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