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China invites Kalam to teach any subject of his choice

Last updated on: November 02, 2012 16:06 IST
China has invited India's "missile man" and former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to teach at the prestigious Peking University in Beijing, offering him a lab of his choice to work with the students.

On his first-ever visit to China at the invitation of the reputed Beijing Forum, a Chinese government-backed intellectual body, Kalam appeared happy to receive the offer to teach but said it all depends on his schedule.

Asked whether he would be visiting Beijing often to teach, the 82-year-old Kalam told PTI, "I am a teacher. I teach in the United States and as a professor wherever the knowledge takes me I go and share it. Particularly, I like meeting young people and I would like to contribute to their knowledge."

The invitation to teach at Peking University was extended to Kalam by its chairman Zhu Shanlu when he met the former Indian president on Thursday night.

He was invited to teach the subject of his choice once a year and stay as long as he wants. The subject could be science and technology or humanities, Kalam's secretary H Sheridon said, adding that the offer included setting up a laboratory of Kalam's choice.

Kalam began his career as an aerospace engineer and later became India's top guided missile scientist heading DRDO, which recently has come up with the 5,000 km Agni V missile which brought a number of Chinese cities within its range.

Significantly, China has organised a special visit by Kalam to the Chinese academy of aerospace technology on Friday, altering its earlier plans to take him on a tour of its top aeronautical plant which manufacture its fighter planes.

Kalam himself said he was interested in teaching sustainable development and praised Peking University's recent move to open an ethics department which he said is a "beautiful idea".

He is scheduled to formally address students of Peking University on Saturday and interact with Chinese and Indian professionals at the Indian embassy in Beijing.

Kalam said being ancient civlisations and holding 37 per cent of the world's population, both India and China should cooperate and jointly work for the prosperity of their people.

"There is no doubt we need harmony between the two civilisations. How to do it, so I have come to the conclusion the two great civilisations should become model civilisations by coming together," he said.

"The two countries mean 37 per cent of the humanity. It has got a tremendous potential if the two countries put together their joint vision. The joint effort could be for a technology mission or societal development mission or even multiple missions," he said.

"We should be partners," he said referring to the annual Strategic Dialogue between both the countries.

"So there is tremendous opportunities to the two if they come around and work for peace and prosperity," Kalam said.

Asked about critics back home who are sceptical about China and the history of hostilities between the two nations, who fought a war in 1962, Kalam said the countries of the European Union came together after over 100 years of wars.

"Those who fought wars are now sitting together in EU Parliament," he said and referred to America and Russia's decision to drastically reduce their missile stockpiles.

"History is there. But the generation is changing. India has over 50 per cent youth and China over 40 per cent," he said, adding hat the two could match their respective strengths.

India is strong in software and services sectors and China is strong in manufacturing and two could be "partners", he said. "We both can join (hands) to make products for the world. (So) the technology co-operation (can) bring human cooperation."

During the reception hosted by Beijing Forum on Thursday, Kalam said this one  unique action will become a harbinger for evolving a great model of cooperation in an integrated and unique way for the world of nations to assimilate to arrive at world peace and prosperity for all.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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