Islamabad: At a time when the whole country is mourning the sudden demise of former president APJ Abdul Kalam, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the ‘disgraced’ Pakistani nuclear scientist, has described Dr Kalam as just an `ordinary` scientist.
“India’s missile programme was developed with the help of Russia and Dr Kalam didn’t make a big difference in developing the missiles,” Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, said in an interview to the BBC.
Khan also said that he couldn’t recall any major contribution made by Dr Kalam in the fields of satellite technology, missile technology or astro-physics.
The Pakistani atomic black marketeer also declared Kalam's appointment as President of India in 2002 as ‘undeserving’.
He claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party had appointed Kalam as the President of India, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, in 2002 only because he was a Muslim and the party wanted to lure Muslim voters.
Notably, during the second Pokhran test, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, then headed by Kalam, had an important role to play.
Kalam, who died on Monday evening while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management-Shillong, is remebered as an eminent scientist.
The contribution of 'missile man' APJ Abdul Kalam to the country's atomic and space programme is known worldwide.
Kalam was project director of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle, which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near Earth orbit in July 1980 and made India a member of the exclusive Space Club.
In his two-decade stint in the space agency, he was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration.
He planned the programme that produced a number of successful missiles, earning him the "Missile Man" nickname.
He was responsible for the development and operationalisation of Agni and Prithvi missiles.
He played a prominent role in the country's 1998 nuclear weapons tests, Pokhran-II, which established Kalam as a national hero.
Kalam was a strong advocate for India's self-reliance in defence technologies.