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The Russians are coming, again

mumbai Updated: Dec 22, 2010 01:51 IST
Kiran Wadhwa
Kiran Wadhwa
Hindustan Times
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A Russian leader will be visiting the Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay (IIT-B) on Wednesday almost 50 years after the visit of Leonid Brezhnev, who lead communist country from 1964 to 1982.

Brezhnev visited the Powai campus on December 18, 1961, and even planted a sapling to mark his visit. On Wednesday afternoon, President Dmitry Medvedev will not plant a sapling, but will interact with more than 200 students and will visit the institute’s Centre of Excellence in Nanoelectronics. The elite engineering institute owes a lot to Russia. From 1966 to 1973, the Russian government (then USSR) helped the institute with equipment and expert services through UNESCO.

But are there any ties to rekindle the old relationship IIT-B shared with Russia in the offing? “We will look forward to re-establishing ties with academic and research institute in Russia as a follow up to the visit,” said IIT-B director Devang Khakhar.

The entire campus, which is already swamped with Mood I (their annual cultural festival) participants, is preparing for the President’s visit. A part of the campus has been cordoned off for the President and his delegation, which includes the deputy prime minister, foreign minter, the Russian ambassador and the Russian press.

“The President mainly wants to interact with students and answer their questions. He was also keen to see our laboratory so we are taking him to our Centre for Research in Nanotechnology & Science,” said Jaya Joshi, PRO. Translator headphones will be available to hear the English translation of the President’s address. The students are very excited. “It is very exciting and an experience of a lifetime,” said Manas Rachh, general secretary for undergraduate students.