Friday, April 23, 2010

India – US Relationship : It matters

It was the first appreciation that received by India from the new US Government when our Prime Minister Mr.Manmohan Singh was invited as the first state guest of President Barack Obama. During the visit of our Prime Minister to US in 2009 November , both the leaders reaffirmed the need to provide a common platform to face the global challenges of 21st century. Many contacts at political and official levels before and after that ,have lead to wide range dialogues on global ,regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest between the two countries. The visit of our Prime Minister to US and US Secretary of States to India had added momentum to the joint activities in this regard.

The US State Secretary Hilari Clinton says “US sees India as one of the few key partners worldwide who will help us to shape the 21st century”. She termed the relation between the two countries as “third era of US-India relations”.

Origin of the India – US relationship :-

Regarding the India – US relationship I will say, both the countries are neither complete partners nor complete adversaries. Rather it is a complex relation which changes tremendously.

By the withdrawal of British from India, a power vacuum was created here. Soviet Union ( one of the super power then ) being near to India , USA naturally suspected that Soviet Union will take advantage of this situation. When China also emerged out in 1949 as another communist power, this anxiety of USA increased further. US also realized that India has the true potential and power to challenge even the US authorities.

So to prevent India from moving to Soviet shadow US maintained a favorable economic , cultural and educational relations with India during the first decade of our independence. The technical co-operation agreement in 1951 provided high assistance to India in its prenatal stage. Also India was facing food shortage at that time which almost overcame by the wheat supply from USA.

After the end of cold war USA realized that India will be one of the major markets in the globalization era due to its size, high population with middle class community and economic potential. At the same time India was seeking external investments and trade links to cope with its economic problems and to stabilize its financial conditions. Thus the relationship between the two countries took a new shape.

Areas of Co-operation :-

As a result of all these developments India and US began to cooperate in many fields. The important areas of co-operation were defense, nuclear energy, science and technology , trade and agriculture. Let us look each of them in detail.

Civilian Nuclear Co-operation Agreement :-

India hadn’t signed both the controversial treaties NPT ( Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty ) and CTBT ( Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty ). Eventhough both of them remain unsigned George W Bush signed in Civilian Nuclear Co-operation Agreement with India on December 18 , 2006 (It is also known as 123 agreement).This sign up had fortified the bilateral relations between the two countries. According to this agreement USA will supply the nuclear fuel like Uranium to India for its civilian needs.

Through, July 2005 deal with US , India would comply with all obligations of Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) which are the signatories to the NPT. Also US will supply fuel to our Tarapur nuclear plant which was built with US aid. The fuel supply and technological assistance were cut off due to India’s first nuclear test in 1974. Further US will recognize India as a leading country with advanced nuclear technology which will grant it a de facto NWS status.

Co-operation in Defense Sector :-

Mr.Manmohan’s visit to US in November 2009 was a turning point in the bilateral deals between the two countries. The defense ties include “New framework for India – US defense relationship “ signed in 2005 and “Frame work for maritime security co-operation” signed in 2006. Six joint working groups are functioning under this frameworks. The scale and frequency of joint exercises have improved after signing these frameworks. Presently India had contracted for defense equipments like antiship missile , radar , patrol aircraft etc. This is a new development between the two countries that really matters the relationship between them.

Co-operation in Education Sector :-

The “Obama – Singh 21st century knowledge initiative “ is a great initiation in education sector. It will increase the university linkages and faculty development exchanges between the universities of both the countries. The new Fulbright agreement signed to implement a scholarship of 5 Million US Dollars annually is definitely a motivation to the students. Now 15.4% of total foreign students in USA hails from India. Establishment of India Study Centers in University of Pennsylvania and Harvard are the opening of a new era in Indian education sector.

Science and Technology sharing :-

An agreement signed in Science and Technology field provides for joint research and training.30 million US Dollars is allotted as Science and Technology endowment for various projects. It will surely boost the projects in this field.

Space Co-operation :-

The signing of an agreement with NASA ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration ) in July 2008 was a landmark in India’s space research activities. India’s maiden unmanned lunar mission Chandrayan – 1 that launched from Sriharikkotta on 22 October 2008 carried two payloads of NASA as per this agreement. The two payloads were Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (Mini SAR) to map ice deposit in moon’s surface and Moon Mineralogy Mapper to assess mineral resources of the moon. Recently the Mini SAR created history by detecting craters of ice on moon’s surface. Moon Mineralogy Mapper had already identified water molecule in lunar surface.

US also approved to launch satellites using India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV). A letter of intent that enable US agencies to receive Occeansat – 2 data for research and education purpose is also signed between ISRO and NASA.

Thus the co-operation in this field is creating histories and expect more co-operation including the cryogenic experiments in which India’s first mission failed recently.

Economic Relations :-

USA is one of the major trade partner of India. India’s export to USA is greater than import from there. This is a positive sign in trade as far as we concerned. USA is the third largest source of foreign direct investment in India. Investments from India to US is found to be hiking year to year which creates a number of job opportunities in various sections in US. Thus the co-operation in this sector is worthwhile.

Counter Terrorism :-

The 9/11 incident in US and many many terrorist attacks in India had made both US and India to think about a joint venture to counter terrorism. Thus nine counter terrorism co-operation initiative has been signed. The Joint Working Group formed will enable the two countries to co-operate on counter terrorism, information sharing and capacity building. This is a highly acceptable initiative as the whole world is facing different terrorist attacks in recent years. Yesterday American Intelligence wing had warned about a possible terrorist attack on India.

Conclusion :-

India’s manpower and human resource are widely utilized by USA. Many high level posts including that in Federal Administration are adorned by Indians. The active co-operation between the governments of both the countries provides a bridge between the two countries. As it is a matter of concern for a future bright and peaceful world, hope this relation will continue and justify the joint statement titled “India and US: Partnership for a better world “ issued jointly by our Prime Minister and their President on 24.11.2009.

Friday, April 16, 2010

GSLV-D3 Mission Fails

India’s quest for achieving total independence in cryogenic technology dating back to over 25 years suffered a setback yesterday when the indigenously built cryogenic engine of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle ( GSLV – D3 ) failed to ignite.15-04-20210 , 4:27 PM was a crucial moment in the history of Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO ). That was the launching time of GSLV – D3. But at all at a sudden turned down when the vehicle tumbled to Bay of Bengal.

The mission was to put GSAT-4 , a communication satellite to orbit. ISRO was eagerly looking forward to the flight indifferent from all earlier other missions. It was because this was the first time that ISRO was flying a GSLV with indigenously built cryogenic engine. All the earlier GSLVs prior to this (2001 to 2007) were back powered by Russian cryogenic engines.

The GSLV-D3 launch count down started two days ago at Satheesh Dhavan Space Centre , Sriharikkotta. The lift off was planned at 4:27 PM IST on 15-04-2010 Thursday. The launching took place at right time. Everything was okay till the end of second stage which was fired by liquid propellants. It was in third stage the cryogenic engine to be ignited. After firing the cryogenic engine for 12 minutes it would have to inject GSAT-4 into orbit. But problem developed at this third stage.

“We are not sure whether the main cryogenic engine ignited or not. This has to be confirmed first after analyzing the various parameters monitored during the first two stage of flight of GSLV-D3. The tumbling means vehicle lost control and altitude. “ Dr. K.Radhakrishnan , the ISRO chairman told to reporters.

“ There was a problem in the start up of the cryogenic engine. The team behind this project has all capability to analyse the reasons of failure and to take corrective measures. Our target is to fly a GSLV with our indigenously built cryogenic engine within one year. But it will be tough.” Mr.P.S.Veeraraghavan , Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre , Trivandrum said.

However the vehicle had not destroyed as its trajectory was through a safe corridor over the Bay of Bengal. So every Indian can hope the cloud that covered the faces in Mission Control Centre of Sriharikkotta as well as each Indian who watched the historic moment will be replaced by a full moon smile very soon.
Designed by Hashimܓ