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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Indian president in fighter plane
President APJ Kalam in the Sukhoi-30 jet
It was a flying first for the Indian president
The 74-year-old Indian President, APJ Kalam, has taken to the skies in a fighter jet, officials say.

Mr Kalam was a co-passenger in a two-seater Sukhoi-30 jet that flew for 30 minutes above an air force base near the city of Pune in western India.

He becomes India's oldest person - and its first president - to have flown in a fighter jet, an official said.

"The earth looked beautiful from the top," Mr Kalam, a missile scientist for most of his life, said afterwards.

"It was a fantastic experience," he said.

Mr Kalam sat in the aircraft's rear seat, an Indian air force spokesman said.

Two Sukhoi jets escorted him during the flight, as he was given a demonstration of the aircraft's ability to pinpoint targets in the air and on the ground.

India's presidents have largely symbolic duties, including official command of the country's military.

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