China today paid rich tributes to former President A P J Abdul Kalam, terming him an influential Indian politician and active promoter of Sino-Indian friendship as it expressed condolences over his death.
“Dr. Kalam, former President of India was an influential politician, and also an active promoter of Sino-Indian friendship, and after retirement had also visited China many times and served as an honorary professor at Peking University,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
“The Chinese side expressed deep condolences on the death of Dr. Kalam, to the Indian government and people as well as conveyed sincere condolences to his family,” it said in a written response to a question from PTI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over Kalam’s death on his Chinese social media account Weibo, where he has several thousand followers.
“On 27th July 2015 we lost our beloved former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He will be remembered as a great scientist, a wonderful President & above all an inspiring individual. Dr. Kalam enjoyed being with people; people & youngsters adored him. He loved students & spent his final moments among them,” Modi said.
“My mind is filled with so many memories, so many interactions with him. Always marvelled at his intellect, learnt so much from him. Here is a video of my speech in which I pay my tributes to him,” he said.
Like he did in India, Kalam sought to make impression on Chinese students.
He first visited China in 2012 on the invitation of the Chinese government and was made Honorary Professor of the prestigious Peking University where he delivered lectures on sustainable development and creative leadership.
He visited Beijing again last year.
Prof. Jiang Jingkui, who heads the Centre for South Asian Studies in Peking University and attended both the lectures, said: “Dr. Kalam is not simply a scientist of India but also for the entire world. People of China will remember him for long.