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Wednesday 24 January 2018

India's former president APJ Kalam dies

APJ Kalam has died aged 83. (AP)
APJ Kalam has died aged 83. (AP)

India's former president APJ Kalam, who was known as the father of the country's military missile programme, has died aged 83 after collapsing while delivering a lecture.

The president from 2002 until 2007 was a scientist and science administrator for four decades before that, mainly at the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Space Research Organisation.

He played a key organisational and technical role in India's nuclear programme.

Kalam fell sick while addressing the students of the Indian Institute of Management in the Meghalaya state capital, Shillong, said B Warjri, chief secretary of the state. He was rushed to the hospital, but was declared dead after doctors could not revive him.

The federal government will declare national mourning for seven days for him, federal home secretary LC Goyal said.

"He was an inspiration to an entire generation," home minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

After his presidential term ended, Kalam travelled to remote schools and colleges, speaking to students and inspiring them to follow their dreams.

Even after he left office, he received hundreds of emails each day from high-school students and young people seeking his advice. He would reply to most of the children who wrote to him.

Press Association

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