Shiva Base here, the Garuda has landed
Well, not yet, but I couldn’t resist.
Today India entered the club of nations in space, by launching its own robitic mission to the Moon. I just heard the NPR story about the successful launch, and then checked Bad Astronomy to get the skinny. I want to be happy. I would like to think of this a positive signal of overall progress in India’s quest to climb from Third World to First World status. More power to them, and keep going, I say. Glad to have you on the team.
But then I realize, that in more down-to-Earth terms, this is not India’s first step on the road to space. It’s their first step to mastering a delivery system that can place a nuclear warhead anywhere on the planet. Not that I think they want to do that. I think they want to achieve something that can say to the US, the EU and China, basically “Now will you take us seriously?”
India has to worry about China’s long term nefarious goals regarding their northern border. Owning the high ground always has its advantages, especially when that high ground lets you look down on a fifth of the Earth’s humans. India also has its peevish mutual grudge with Pakistan, and no doubt this message is also aimed at their tiresome nemesis, but I can completely go along with the Indians, here. A nest of screaming lunatics on your border is bound to make one jumpy, and it would be useful for India to demonstrate overwhelming force, if for no other reason than to keep the troglodytes quiet.
We’ll see what happens, I suppose. But in balance I’m happy that India has joined the club. It doesn’t matter that we’ve been there first. Every culture has their own path to modernity. Some stride ahead as quickly as their most vocal and influential idiot sector allows, while others get bogged down, and need time to figure out how to liquidate the village witchdoctors.
It doesn’t matter who’s first. It only matter that everyone gets there.