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  • Space Technology and Soft-Power: A Chinese Lesson for India

    India should engage space have-nots at a different level, going beyond technological and commercial interests.

    October 05, 2009

    Moon Mission Malfunction

    It is a dream project not only for India’s space research organization (ISRO) but for all Indians. With the successful launch of the Moon Mission, ISRO had put India into the bracket of deep-space achievers. The world took serious note of India’ space programme when in October 2008 ISRO successfully launched its satellite Chandrayan-1 towards the moon. If the 1998 Pokharan nuclear tests had helped India demonstrate its ‘hard power’ status, the success of the moon mission indirectly played a significant role towards establishing the ‘soft power’ credentials of the country.

    July 20, 2009

    India Finishes Destruction of its CW Arsenal

    This destruction of CWs under the watchful eyes of international inspectors by strictly following a declared roadmap could be said to be a feather in the cap for India’s overall disarmament and arms control efforts.

    May 21, 2009

    Iran Enters the Space Arena

    One year ago, in February 2008, Iran launched a sounding rocket into outer space to mark the opening of its first space centre. This rocket essentially belonged to the ‘category’ of instrument-carrying crafts. Such crafts are designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during their sub-orbital flight. Within a year, on 3 February 2009, Iran successfully launched its first domestically manufactured satellite "Omid" (Hope), which was carried into space by the home-built Safir-2 space rocket.

    February 20, 2009

    Pentagon’s Robotic Soldiers: Reality or Fiction?

    Recent media reports indicate that the Pentagon is planning to replace 30 per cent of its soldiers with robots by 2020. The employment of robots by the armed forces includes all unmanned platforms used for military related tasks. The use of robots in warfare offers a number of distinct advantages. Such means can provide lethal fire power in a responsive manner on any designated target. Robotic soldiers also eliminate concerns about human casualties in war which is a major concern of western countries.

    September 02, 2008

    The Chlorine Gas Leak at Jamshedpur

    On the afternoon of May 27, the people of Jamshedpur were caught unaware. They were exposed to a dense, pale green, pungent and poisonous gas, Chlorine. This gas had leaked from an unused cylinder lying in the Tata Motor’s water treatment plant for the past 10 years. By the next day, around 150 to 200 people had been hospitalised. The affected people also included company employees and their family members. So far no deaths have been reported.

    May 31, 2008

    ISRO Delivers Ten Satellites at a Go

    India’s Space Programme has been contributing a lot towards bestowing ‘Soft Power’ status to the country over the last couple of years. The success of the PSLV-C9 mission on April 28, 2008 is the latest in this regard. In this mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) succeeded in placing ten satellites in space by using a single booster. This is a record given that till date no other country has put a cumulative weight of approximately 825 kilograms spread over ten different satellites in a single attempt into space.

    April 30, 2008

    Satellite Interception: US BMD Survives the Acid Test

    Rarely would a defence R&D agency get an actual operational scenario to test the capability of a military system before attaining total technological maturity. The much-maligned U.S. Missile Defence Agency (MDA) silenced its long-time critics by utilising such an opportunity through a successful interception of a dysfunctional military reconnaissance satellite which threatened to hit the Earth with hazardous fuel.

    February 26, 2008

    Looking Beyond Nuclear Weapons

    The year 2008 started with oil prices touching a historic high of US $100 a barrel. This is partly a reflection of the high demand for energy. Today, many countries are factoring ‘energy’ into their planning, be it hydrocarbons or other forms of energy. But in the case of India it appears that its energy future would be decided more by politics than actual energy needs. In the first week of 2008, an Indian delegation has completed the third round of negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) on India-specific nuclear safeguards.

    January 15, 2008

    Media takes off on TechSAR, but no takers

    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has strongly denied news reports that the launch of an Israeli spy satellite aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has been delayed or even cancelled because of US pressure. The news reports, while speculative in nature, have certain inconsistencies that need to be contested. Foremost among these being there is a quid pro quo element by way of sharing of data; since the satellite is wholly Israeli owned and operated, ISRO is only providing a commercial service with no quid pro quo involved.

    December 07, 2007

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