|Is It India Or China?|
|Written by Jeff Krukin|
|Sunday, 23 November 2008|
India and China are spreading their space wings. Just last week, India's first lunar probe (Chandrayaan-1) released its surface impactor at a 100km altitude, which then successfully crash-landed at the south pole. In September, China's Shenzhou-7 carried three taikonauts into orbit, with one conducting China's first space walk. Two very different missions, with different repurcussions for US government space programs, both military and civil. What does the future hold; competition.... collaboration... a blend of both? How should these events influence the attention each nation will receive from President-elect Obama and the next US Congress?
In "US cannot shape the world without India" in The Hindu on Oct. 17, 2008, Republican Senator Richard Lugar tell us, "The bottom line is that American efforts to shape the world are unlikely to succeed fully without the cooperation of India. Its sheer size ensures that it will have an enormous impact on the global economy."
On the other hand, during that very same month in Wired magazine in "The 2008 Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To," Parag Khanna (author, "The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order") informs us that the race isn't even close. "India will never rival China," Khanna says. "India accounts for less than 2 percent of the global economy. It's not a superpower."
So, when it comes to 21st Century space exploration and development, which nation provides the greater potential for partnership or peril to the United States? Which nation's space program should be considered as part of US foreign policy (rather than just space policy)? Is it India or China?
Let the discussion begin... in and among all three nations.
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