US media describes the former president as hero of India’s nuclear programme
GN Bureau | July 29, 2015
US President Barack Obama has said that former president APJ Abdul Kalam was an inspiration to millions.
Obama, who is visiting the African continent, 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," said Obama.
"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," Obama said.
Read More: Nation mourns APJ Abdul Kalam's death
Meanwhile, the US media identified Kalam with India’s nuclear, space and missile programmes instead of what India felt – the people’s president.
The New York Times obit said Kalam’s “role in advancing India’s nuclear programmes made him one of his country’s most beloved figures”.
“He was one of the most exuberant boosters of the country’s nuclear programme,” the Times said.
It attributed his success to the nuclear test. “Kalam’s celebrity could be traced to 1998, when India detonated five nuclear devices in the northwestern desert, to widespread international condemnation,” the obit said.
“I am completely indigenous!” he had told the newspaper in 1998.
The Washington Post also went the nuclear programme line. It said “He played a crucial role when India tested its nuclear weapons in 1998,” the Post said. “The test resulted in sanctions against the country but helped elevate Kalam’s to the status of folk hero in his country.”
On the other hand, Time magazine described Kalam as “one of India’s most renowned rocket scientists who served as the nation’s 11th president”.
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