Washington, DC – US President Barack Obama expressed his condolences on Tuesday on the death of former Indian President Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam who died on Monday evening (India time) after he suffered a massive cardiac arrest and collapsed while delivering a lecture at Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong in North East India.
President Obama said in a statement, “On behalf of the American people, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the people of India on the passing of former Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. A scientist and statesman, Dr. Kalam rose from humble beginnings to become one of India’s most accomplished leaders, earning esteem at home and abroad.”
Recalling the history of Kalam as a rocket scientist also fondly called India’s Missile Man, Obama added, “An advocate for stronger US-India relations, Dr. Kalam worked to deepen our space cooperation, forging links with NASA during a 1962 visit to the United States. His tenure as India’s 11th president witnessed unprecedented growth in US-India ties. Suitably named “the People’s President,” Dr. Kalam’s humility and dedication to public service served as an inspiration to millions of Indians and admirers around the world.”
Kalam was a rocket scientist and served as president of India (2002-2007) and created a roadmap for India called Vision2020 to see India as a developed nation by the year 2020. “Dr. Kalam was the Chief Mentor for the Lead India 2020 Movement www.Li2020.org with a focus on transforming the youth of India into responsible citizens and engage them in development of the nation to see India as a developed nation by 2020, Lead India team will continue its efforts to make his dreams into a reality, said Harikishan Eppanapally, the Chairman of the board for Lead India 2020 Foundation (USA) in New Jersey.
Former President Kalam’s last rites to take place on July 30 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu at the request of his family members, according to official sources in India.