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Monday, July 22, 2024

The Lunar Leap

India’s lunar achievement coincides fortuitously with the BRICS summit in South Africa. This milestone is set to elevate India’s profile at the summit, challenging China’s dominance in space and enhancing India’s credibility among global south nations. This triumph will bolster India’s technological prowess and soft power influence over the global south, providing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a platform to propose a broader BRICS-level space initiative.

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In a remarkable feat of space exploration, India has achieved a soft landing on the treacherous terrain of the Moon’s south pole. The successful touchdown of a rover vehicle is no small achievement, and it carries profound implications for India’s global standing and the geopolitics of space exploration. The lunar surface is notorious for its fine, adhesive dust known as regolith, which, upon landing, enveloped the entire lander, momentarily severing communication. Only when the lunar dust settled did the rover commence its mission, underscoring the daunting challenges faced by space missions of this magnitude.

India’s accomplishment catapults it into an exclusive club of four nations capable of executing soft landings on the Moon, a testament to the complexity and rarity of such endeavors. If lunar landings were straightforward, more nations would have undoubtedly achieved this milestone by now. By stationing its rover on the Moon’s surface and conducting vital scientific experiments, India has earned itself the coveted title of a space superpower. International media has lauded this achievement, recognising India’s newfound prowess. Yet, the implications extend far beyond the symbolic. This success places India on an elevated geopolitical platform, especially following the recent failure of Russia’s lunar landing attempt. It brings substantial diplomatic gains and multi-dimensional prestige, reaffirming India’s position as a formidable player in the space arena. What sets India’s achievement apart is its landing in a region of critical scientific significance: the lunar South Pole, where sunlight rarely reaches. Scientists believe that if water exists on the Moon, it’s likely in the form of ice particles in this polar region.

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India had previously aligned itself with the American Artemis program, aimed at establishing a framework for lunar research and governance in the future. This alignment assumes paramount importance as numerous countries are gearing up for lunar exploration in the near future. Among them are Israel, Japan, and the traditional space powers: China, the United States, and Russia. Until now, the United Nations had declared that no single nation could assert exclusive sovereignty over any part of the Moon. However, China, along with Russia, has refused to participate in international efforts regarding moon research and territorial rights, challenging the consensus. The United States, despite historic lunar landings, has been relatively inactive in recent times, leaving China as the sole nation to deploy rovers in the 21st century. In this context, the United States’ agreements with India regarding moon research and exploration represent a strategic milestone. India’s involvement promises to be a valuable asset in America’s renewed moon exploration endeavors, with other democracies like Canada, Japan, and South Korea also joining forces. This alignment presents a burgeoning geopolitical divide: democracies on one side, and authoritarian regimes on the other. India’s firm stance against joint efforts with China, due to recent tensions on the Himalayan borders, positions it firmly alongside the United States and Western nations in space-related initiatives.

India’s lunar achievement coincides fortuitously with the BRICS summit in South Africa. This milestone is set to elevate India’s profile at the summit, challenging China’s dominance in space and enhancing India’s credibility among global south nations. This triumph will bolster India’s technological prowess and soft power influence over the global south, providing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a platform to propose a broader BRICS-level space initiative.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
Welcome to The Hills Times, your trusted source for daily news and updates in English from the heart of Assam, India. Since our establishment in 2000, we've been dedicated to providing timely and accurate information to our readers in Diphu and Guwahati. As the first English newspaper in the then undemarcated Karbi Anglong district, we've forged a strong connection with diverse communities and age groups, earning a reputation for being a reliable source of news and insights. In addition to our print edition, we keep pace with the digital age through our website, https://thehillstimes.in, where we diligently update our readers with the latest happenings day by day. Whether it's local events, regional developments, or global news, The Hills Times strives to keep you informed with dedication and integrity. Join us in staying ahead of the curve and exploring the world through our lens.
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