New Delhi: Former president APJ Abdul Kalam is on China tour where he was scheduled to visit the country’s top aviation body. But a few hours before his scheduled visit to Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) on November 2, the programme was changed.

Amid this, it is being speculated that the change in scheduled programme is concerned to the country’s newly launched stealth fighter the J-31. It is being presumed that China was wary of not letting Kalam, ace aviation and missile scientist and the former president of one of alienated neighbour of China, to see its new fighter.

Kalam arrived China on November 1 and the Chinese government’s media had released the pictures of the stealth fighter on the same day. Chinese officials say that the new fighter is an upgraded version of J-20 which was launched two years back. With J-31, China has become second country in the world to develop such a stealth fighter. This fighter is being developed by China to counter Russia’s Mir.

Kalam on November 2 was taken to Chinese Academy of Space Technology instead of AVIC. While Chinese officials were tight lipped about the programme, analysts wonder whether AVIC wanted to avoid exposure of J-31 to India's top defence and aviation specialist, Kalam, who was closely connected with top Indian bodies like the Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO, and Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO.

Not someone to complain, Kalam made good of his visit to CAST, where he was given a detailed presentation about China's successful manned spaceflights, including the one this year, sending its first woman astronaut to the space station being built to rival Russia's Mir, currently being jointly manned with the US.

Kalam also highlighted the advances made by India in space technology specially in putting heavier satellites into orbit.

ISRO is also working on its Mars Orbiter Mission set for next year. During his visit to China, which is the first by Kalam, he was invited to teach at the Peking University besides mooting the idea of collaboration in space solar power mission.


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