Maj Gen (retd) R Swaminathan
Maj Gen (retd) R Swaminathan (74), Advisor to former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, passed away due to illness at Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi on Friday. According to V Ponraj, a close aide of Dr Kalam, Maj Gen (retd) Swaminathan passed away at 2.15. pm. The Missile Man paid his last respects to his old friend and long-time associate on Friday. "It is a sad day for me. I lost a very good friend of mine. May his soul rest in peace," Dr Kalam said in a message.
Ponraj said that Swaminathan was a man who always kept a positive frame of mind, all through his life. “He never had even an bit of negativity in him and always looked at things very positively. He was a very knowledgeable person and we could depend on him every time. He was a down-to-earth human-being and Dr Kalam's best friend. We will all miss him. It's a huge loss for all of us,” Ponraj said.
Ponraj said he had the opportunity to work with Maj. Gen (Retd) R Swaminathan for more than a decade. “He is a man of honesty and integrity, fascinating memory, researching and analyzing mind, a troubleshooter and contributed for number of national defence projects as a scientist and as the Chief Controller of Defence R&D. He worked with Dr Kalam's developed India 2020 vision and PURA missions, energy independence and bio-fuel missions as a OSD (R) to the 11th President of India (Dr Kalam),” Ponraj said.
The blogger had an opportunity to work with Maj Gen (retd) Swaminathan during the launch of Dr Kalam's e-paper Billion Beats in 2007. Despite his military background, Maj Gen (retd) Swaminathan exhibited some skills resembling that of an Editor, while deciding upon the stories for Billion Beats. While the editorial for Billion Beats operated out of Bangalore, Dr Kalam, Maj Gen (retd) Swaminathan and Ponraj cleared them from Delhi. “Let us carry more stories of unsung heroes. You have to be careful while verifying the facts,” Maj Gen (retd) Swaminathan would always tell me, during my interactions.
Dr Kalam has extensively mentioned about Maj Gen (retd) Swaminathan in his book Wings of Fire.
R.I.P. General. Will miss you!