NASA makes exception to hire an Indian Citizen ; Modi impressed
A young Nasa researcher, Arun P.V. from Kerala whose patriotic stand had prompted the US space agency to relax a citizenship rule was surprised to find himself the toast of New Delhi during a visit last month.
Arun P.V. even received an invite to the Prime Minister’s home after Narendra Modi learnt how the 26-year-old from Kottayam had declined to give up his Indian citizenship when NASA offered him a job in January last year.
When foreigners are offered a permanent job at NASA, the condition is that they should apply for and get a US Citizenship. Arun’s NASA assignment required him to accept American citizenship at a later date. Since that would have meant losing his Indian nationality, Arun declined.
True to its professionalism, NASA realised his worth, acknowledged his concerns and took him on board without pressing the citizenship clause. It could not be confirmed whether NASA had made a similar concession for anyone else before.
NASA and the US Government must have been very impressed by his patriotism as well as his scientific calibre from what happened afterwards. Arun, a very junior scientist, was included in a high level science and technology co-operation delegation from the US to India that arrived two weeks ago. It was renowned computer scientist Dr. Barbara Liskov, who was also on the delegation, who informed Home minister Rajnath Singh about the courageously patriotic stand that Arun had taken.
A young NASA researcher,Arun P.V
Rajnath Singh updated PM Narendra Modi about this, and the PM invited Arun to his official residence for a half hour chat.
Officials said the meeting, held in the first week of September, lasted nearly 30 minutes, the discussions ranging from recent developments in science and technology to India’s Mars Orbiter Mission.
Modi is learnt to have told Arun that the doors of the country’s space research establishments would always be open for him.
Sources in Arun’s family told The Telegraph that the young man had been thrilled at the Prime Minister meeting him personally.
Although a NASA employee, Arun is now doing a research project on artificial intelligence at MIT.
He graduated in mechanical engineering in Kottayam before doing his MTech at the National Institute of Technology in Bhopal.
His work on artificial intelligence at the Bhopal institute drew attention and eventually earned him his Nasa job.
– Sharanya Bharathwaj