Top Russian award for Indian cruise missile scientist

Eminent Indian missile scientist A Sivathanu Pillai has been given the highest Russian award by President Vladimir Putin for his contribution towards strengthening the ties between the two countries through the successful BrahMos supersonic cruise missile programme.

Along with Pillai, senior BJP leader and Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi has also been bestowed upon the Russian award 'Order of Friendship', which is the highest award given by that country to foreign citizens.

"You have been awarded with Order of Merit in your special merit in developing joint venture, strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and understanding between nations," a communication from the Russian Government to Pillai said.

Pillai and Joshi were congratulated by Defence Minister AK Antony during the meeting of Defence Ministry's Consultative Committee in Parliament for being given the Russian honour.

Russia had instituted the awards in 1994 to honour foreign nationals whose work, deeds and efforts were aimed at betterment of relations with Russian federation.

Pillai is credited with the development of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is a Joint Venture between India and Russia.

The JV started in 1998 and in 15 years, the 290-km range missile has been inducted into all three arms of the Indian armed forces.

The BrahMos Aerospace corporation is also working towards the development of an air-launched version of the weapon system.

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