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In a day of packed schedule that included soaring in the skies "On the wings of fire" albeit inside a Sukhoi and exhorting students to take up development of strategic advanced technologies at the first Convocation of Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT), Khadakvasla, the Honourable President Dr. Kalam took time out to spend more than an hour among the fraternity of Indian metallurgists and honoured the memory of an outstanding metallurgist, Dr Dara P Antia. Delivering the first Dara P Antia Memorial Lecture instituted by the Indian Institute of Metals (IIM) at its Pune Chapter, the honourable President addressed the members of Indian Institute of Metals, the students of the College of Engineering and Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, Pune and distinguished invitees from India’s academic, research and industrial community. It was heartening to have the kind and gracious presence of many past presidents of the institute besides the present president and all the three vice-presidents of IIM on this occasion.

President Kalam honoured the Antia family by presenting a bouquet to Mrs. Jeroo Antia, in presence of her daughter and son, Ms. Shirin Antia and Firoz Antia. He delivered the first Dr. Dara P Antia Memorial lecture entitled "Material Science and National Development", in his characteristic style of simple anecdotes and inspirational remarks that hide a surprisingly large number of profundities. He mentioned that in his professional career as a technologist in space and defence departments he worked with four significant groups of metallurgists in the country and how he benefited from these interactions. The Honourable President charted the tasks that need to be taken up and finished successfully by metallurgists and material scientists to help India become a developed nation by 2020. He emphasised the importance of advanced materials, nano-technology and other advanced technologies to achieve this goal. "One of the very important ingredients for success of the vision of transforming India into a developed nation by 2020 is the evolution of creative leaders", said President Dr. Kalam.

Earlier Dr. Pradip welcomed the guests on behalf of Indian Institute of Metals, Pune Chapter and Dr. Dara P Antia Memorial Lecture Committee, Pune. Dr. Baldev Raj welcomed them on behalf of the Indian Institute of Metals. Dr. J J Irani recalled various contributions of Dr. Dara Antia to the metallurgical profession, in particular his relentless drive and commitment to initiate, sustain and provide international recognition to the alloy phase diagram activity under the banner of IIM. Through his close interactions with the metallurgical community world-wide, Dr. Antia brought international stature to IIM

At the end of the lecture the President vexed his security detail greatly, when he broke all rules and freely mixed with young students, answered their eager questions and obliged their request for his autograph. The verdant campus of DIAT on the banks of Khadakvasla lake was filled with enthusiasm and wonder at the simplicity and scholarship of the nation’s first citizen. The timely help and enthusiastic support from a large number of volunteers from Tata Research Development and Design Centre, Defence Institute of Advanced Technology and College of Engineering, Pune contributed greatly to the success of this mega-event.

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