August 25, 2023
INDIA, THE HOST OF NEXT MONTH’S G20 SUMMIT, has now joined the United States, Soviet Union and China as only the fourth country to achieve a successful moon landing and has established itself as the first naton globally to have etched its footprint in the lunar South Pole region.
If Prime Minister Narendra Modi can manage to turn the G20 spotlight away from the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, he is expected to leverage the event to highlight the country’s growing geopolitical clout. India’s space economy is likely to be worth around USD13 billion by 2025 as opposed to the global space economy which, according to the Space Foundation in their annual report, has already reached a value of USD$546 billion in the second quarter of 2023. With the demand for global data of satellite imaging, positioning and navigation shooting up, the world is already witnessing exponential growth of the space economy.
Having privatized space launches, India is keen on opening up its space sector to foreign investment as it eyes a nearly five-fold rise in its share of the global launch market over the next decade by highlighting its cost-competitiveness.
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX which aims at reducing space travel costs and has ambitious plans to colonize Mars, too, has praised India’s achievement. “Being a space lover, it’s incredible to see India’s #Chandrayaan3 space probe successfully landed on the Moon. India is a cool country with great tech talent & innovators,” posted Musk, the new boss of X, the social media platform earlier known as Twitter.
BOOST FOR DEVELOPMENT
The beneficial results of earlier space explorations—accessibility to clean drinking water—also known as ‘liquid gold’ in space—with water recycling on the International Space Station, worldwide Internet access for education provided by Starlink and rapid advances in solar power generation and health technologies—are already in evidence. Should India’s Pragyan rover discover ice sheets on the Moon’s exterior, it may pave the way for humans to explore the potential of establishing a new habitat. This discovery holds the potential to offer fuel, oxygen, and potable water for forthcoming missions.
In the light of this, the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission also bolsters India’s resolve to build a permanent infrastructure on the Moon. The ISRO had a modest budget of around only around USD74 million for the Chandrayaan-3 Mission, compared to NASA’s own estimates of USD93 billion through 2025 on its Artemis Moon program to which India became a signatory in July 2023. In 2021, China and Russia had announced that they would be jointly building a Moon base, and invited other nations to join their International Lunar Research Station, as a challenge to the Artemis Moon program.
KUDOS FROM THE TRADE BLOC
The successful moon landing is also expected to bolster the nation’s hopes of emerging as a global manufacturing hub as Western nations look to diversify supply chains. Indian business and trade bodies expressed their kudos for India reaching the Moon milestone.
“Over the years, they (ISRO) have given us many occasions to celebrate through the successes of the Indian space programme. But this stands out in particular,” said Subhrakant Panda, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Chairman of Bharat Web3 Association Dilip Chenoy said this giant step had “united the nation with a sense of pride and achievement”, while secretary-general of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India Deepak Sood signified the country’s resolve to “cross all barriers” based “on a solid foundation of science, technology and innovation”.
Satya Gupta, a semiconductor industry veteran behind a new non-profit group promoting the revitalization of the domestic electronics sector, said the Chandrayaan-3 mission would have a positive impact in promoting indigenous innovation.
CATALYST FOR PROGRESS
The achievement of a successful Moon landing is anticipated to strengthen the nation’s aspirations of becoming a worldwide manufacturing centre, especially as the Western countries seek to broaden their supply chain sources.