Bhopal, Nov 25: The father of India's intermediate-range ballistic missile programme and former president A P J Abdul Kalam today justified -- in a manner of speaking -- the Indo-US 123 Nuclear Agreement by saying that the deal was inked due to inavailability of fissile material.
The Bharat Ratna's remark was made in response to a schoolgirl's query at the Lal Parade Ground here. Dr Kalam, who is in the Madhya Pradesh capital to take part in the Indian Science Conference 2007 and Science Expo, was having a question-answer session with schoolchildren.
The girl had said she was unable to figure out whether the agreement was in India's favour even as a lot was being said these days in favour of and against the deal.
''India has 14 reactors but there is paucity of uranium. However, thorium is available and can be used to run the reactors but it may take five to ten years to make it reactor-grade using indigenous technique,'' the renowned scientist explained.
Pointing out that parents and primary teachers imparted the crucial education that led to strength of character, Dr Kalam suggested that moral education should be taught for a day each week at schools. Issuing a clarion call to students to convert India into a developed nation by 2020, he said they build an egalitarian nation sans economic disparity and possessing a transparent government system free of corruption.
''We will rank among developed nations through adequate developments of agriculture, education and health facilities; infrastructure development, proper use of communication techniques and self-reliance vis-a-vis important techniques,'' Dr Kalam explained.
Lavish in his praise, he gave the name 'Nuclear Girl' to a student who fired a query on the Indo-US 123 Nuclear agreement.
''India will soon send a vehicle to the moon and we are readying for a manned space mission by 2015,'' Dr Kalam said while making the students take an oath for leaving no stone unturned to bring about the nation's proper development.
Turning to teachers and others present, he urged them to steer clear of corruption and other vices and come forward for contributing to the development.
''In 1954, India's first president Rajendra Prasad invited eminent scientist C V Raman to spend some days at Rashtrapati Bhavan in connection with the Bharat Ratna award. Dr Raman expressed inability by saying that he was busy having a student's thesis completed. Such answerability of teachers for students is the vehicle for metamorphosis,'' Dr Kalam said.