Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to space pioneer and ISRO founder Vikram Sarabhai on his 100th birth anniversary and said his vision helped India become a major science and technology player in the world.
PM Modi offered tributes to Mr Sarabhai, the father of India's space programme, through a video message which was played at an event held in Ahmedabad to commemorate his birth centenary, which comes just weeks after Chandrayaan-2 mission to the Moon was launched.
Mr Sarabhai was born on August 12, 1919 in Ahmedabad.
"This is a special occasion as we are celebrating Dr Sarabhai's birth centenary. This has come at a time when India is about to land on the moon. When Vikram Lander (of Chandrayaan-2) would land on
the Moon next month, it will be a befitting tribute to Dr Sarabhai from 130 crore citizens of India," said PM Modi.
The programme was organised jointly by the Department of Space, the ISRO and the Department of Atomic Energy. "He used to say that people of India must not hesitate to use latest technology to solve problems faced by the society. It was this vision of Dr Sarabhai which played an important role in making India a major player in the field of science and technology."
"We are now making use of space technology and nuclear technology for the benefit of common men," he said. PM Modi said it was Mr Sarabhai who filled the void created by the death of legendary scientist Homi Bhabha, who had conceived India's nuclear programme.
Remembering Mr Sarabhai's initial days, PM Modi said the first rocket launched by him at Thumba in Kerala during the 1960s became the base for today's rocket technology which is being used to launch India's Moon and Mars missions.
"Dr Sarabhai gave a new direction to our space and nuclear programmes. We can say that the rocket launched by him at Thumba has now taken different forms to help us reach to the Moon and Mars. Today, the entire world is amazed by our achievements in space and showering praises on us," said PM Modi, adding apart from being a legendary scientist, Mr Sarabhai was a great human being and a teacher.
The prime minister urged the young generation to take inspiration from Sarabhai and make new inventions to solve various problems being faced by the society.
The function was attended by ISRO chairman K Sivan, one of his predecessors K Kasturirangan, former Director of the Space Application Centre Pramod Kale and Mr Sarabhai's son Kartikeya Sarabhai among other dignitaries.