India unveils statue of cosmonaut Gagarin

Dec. 30, 2011 at 8:07 PM
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MUMBAI, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- A statue of the world's first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, was unveiled Friday in Mumbai on the grounds of the Nehru Science Center, center officials said.

Dignitaries attending the unveiling ceremony Friday included Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin, Russian General Consul in Mumbai Alexei Novikov and Mumbai Mayor Shraddha Jadhav.

"Gagarin is a man who is known and loved around the world, including India. He visited India and was in Bombay, as Mumbai was called then. Mumbai's older generation still remembers his visit," Anil Manekar, the director of the Nehru Science Center, told RIA Novosti.

About 700,000 people visit the Science Center each year, he said.

"Interest in science, in space research, is very high in India. We are confident this bust of Gagarin will be an important attraction for our center," he said.

The bust of Gagarin has been placed near the Science Center's main entrance.

India already has another monument to Gagarin, located on the grounds of the Russian Science and Culture Center in the southern city of Trivandum.

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