While India’s space programme has previously been praised for its activities that genuinely help its people i.e. remote sensing satellite applications for agriculture, satellite telecommunications applications for rural education etc. aid-giving nations are becoming increasingly irritated that India is now straying into more glamorous space activities.
Western criticism that its aid is indirectly funding India’s space programme has now found its way onto the front pages. Courtesy: Express Newspapers.
Concerns were initially expressed after India annoumced plans for manned space programme – an activity with little benefit to poorer people in India’s population – and a project that most Western nations would consider too expensive for themselves to undertake. Further Western media and political criticism followed Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh’s announcement during a speach to mark the 65th anniversary of India’s independence that the nation now plans to send an unmanned mission to Mars Even within India, there has been suggestions that the funding for the mission would be better spent on key infrastructure projects. This follows serious power cuts to major parts of northern India.
In the United Kingdom, political and media critics have pointed out that the £280 million of the UK’s annual economic aid to India was indirectly funding India’s exploratory space programme – funding that the UK’s own space programme desperately needs, Others have noted that India’s economic growth is now significantly faster than the UK’s and that soon India’s total wealth will surpass it.