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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid tribute to former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on his 84th birth anniversary and said he was first a ‘rashtra-ratna’ and then became the President.Unveiling People’s President Kalam’s statue a Defence Research and Development Organisation, Modi said, “Dr Kalam, before he became a Rashtrapati was a Rashtraratna. Dr Kalam was always looking for challenges and how to overcome them.”.Modi announced that the government has acquired land in Kalam’s birthplace to build a memorial for him.Reminiscing his memories with Bharat Ratna awardee Kalam, Modi said, “I remember Dr Kalam was very fond of Ahmedabad as he was posted there early on during his career, working with Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.”Modi was Gujarat chief minister when Kalam was President from 2002-2007.The Missile Man died on July 27 in Shillong after collapsing while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management.”Just after leaving the Presidency, after such a big position, he went to teach. This can’t happen without an inherent commitment. His last moments were spent with students and that too in the Northeast,” said Modi.Before becoming the President, Kalam had spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the DRDO and Indian Space Research Organisation. He was involved in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts, earning him the title of ‘Missile man’.
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