India Impresses China Oppresses

Launch of India's Mangalayaan Mars Probe


In the old days when you saw a movie in India you invariably got an Indian News Review newsreel before the main feature. From the early seventies there were occasional reports on India’s fledgling space program. A rocket would be launched and invariably it would corkscrew in the air and explode – or flame out on the launch pad. The newscaster would try and sound cheerful and positive. I remember one comment: “Ah well, back to the drawing board.”

But early today India successfully managed to put a satellite into orbit around Mars. Only the US, Russia and Europe have sent missions to Mars, and India has succeeded on its first attempt – an achievement that eluded even the Americans and the Soviets.

Artist's concept of Mangalayaan probe approaching the Red Planet


The Mangalyaan (Migmarthekpa in Tibetan) space-probe, one of the cheapest interplanetary missions ever, will soon begin studying the Red Planet’s atmosphere and address some of the biggest questions on Mars, writes BBC’s Jonathan Amos. India was particularly proud that the program was developed with homegrown technology and for a bargain price of about $71 million. Hollywood’s sci-fi hit Gravity cost over a $100 million. The Indian scientists and engineers when interviewed managed to sound modest and realistic about their amazing achievement. Aerospace engineer Narasimha said that India does not “fantasize” about competing with economically advanced countries. There were no “Great Leap Forward” style boasts of leaving the US and Britain behind.

What I felt many news reports did not stress enough was that India’s space program was entirely indigenous. Right from the beginning India’s modest and peaceful space program developed its own rockets and built its own satellites with practically no help from any big power.

China’s space program, on the other hand, received much input from the Russians. China’s first missile built in October 1958 was a reverse-engineered copy of the Soviet R-2 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), itself an upgraded version of a German V-2 rocket. During the cordial Sino-Soviet relations of the 1950s, the USSR engaged in a cooperative technology transfer program with the PRC under which they trained Chinese students and provided the fledgling program with a sample R-2 rocket.

A later Chinese spacecraft the Shenzhou followed the same general layout as that pioneered by Russia’s Soyuz. In 1994, Russia sold some of its advanced aviation and space technology to the Chinese. In 1995 a deal was signed between the two countries for the transfer of Russian Soyuz spacecraft technology to China. Included in the agreement was training, provision of Soyuz capsules, life support systems, docking systems, and space suits. The hardware and information sold by the Russians led to modifications of the original Phase One spacecraft, eventually called Shenzhou.

One other question that must be asked about China’s space program is how much it has benefited from China’s official and extensive campaign to steal every kind of high-technology (including space technology no doubt) from Western countries in general and the USA in particular. At present all researchers from NASA are prohibited from working with Chinese citizens affiliated with a Chinese state enterprise or entity. In March 2013, the U.S. Congress passed legislation barring Chinese nationals from entering NASA facilities without a special security waiver.


43 Replies to “India Impresses China Oppresses”

  1. It is indeed an amazing achievement. I have been an avid space observer, especially anything that has to do with space colonization which will help us move toward class 2 civilization, and always follow any news of space with deep interest. But I was truly surprised to discover a news clipping about India successfully sending out a satellite toward Mars few months back. I am glad it has reached its destination and is performing well. This should really teach the western nations that cost alone doesn’t determine success and one needs imagination and different thinking every now and day to propel us further into the future.

    The only bright star right is Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX who has determined to put men on Mars and have considerably reduced the space rocket cost to enable more flights into space. Hopefully, he gets all the support he needs to make this a reality.

  2. A hearty congrats to the people of India for their triumphant space launch into Infinity!!

    Ok, so it’s only to Mars, but still, an amazing feat in such a short time. There was a time, when advanced science and India were hardly said in the same breath, even though early Hindu cosmology, in some parts, align faithfully with current scientific cosmological timelines, even though, the concept of zero is attributed to ancient Indian mathematicians.

    The most famous story I knew of, about an indian genius(no, not Krishnamurti)Ramanujan, a self taught mathematician, later to become a protege of Cambridge Prof. Hardy. It was Ramanujan who advanced Riemann Hypothesis to the lofty position of a theorem, which his mentor, privileged with elite Western education, failed to prove fully. But this story the causal reader may not come across, nor of the Nobel laureate Chandrasekhar, mentor to the great Carl Sagan.

    One famous event in human history that everyone might know, in which Science and India meet was ofcourse when Robert Oppenheimer, the head egghead of the world shattering Manhattan Project at los alamos, after the successful completion of the atomic bomb Oppenheimer quotes directly fm the Bhagavad gita: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds!!”

    But that was then, this is now. Now many colleges in the West are stacked with Indian mathematicians and physicists. Don’t want to bring up bell curve but there might be something to the notion that Indians have a natural aptitude for math, and by extension, physics. The current trend says that if you want to become a famous physicist, go enroll in India.

    The Tibetan Space Program actually has no need for money to be tenable, to plumb the depths. We just hire a monk or two to build a sand mandala and the Tibetan psychonauts, while sitting like statues, can explore the length and breadth of inner space guided by third eye navigation. haha

    I am just kidding. One fine day in the future, I am sure Tibetans too will be able to visit Mars, but by then, the Indians will have social engineered the Martians to love only sappy hindi movies and samosa.

  3. Dear Dorji Kyoba la.
    Did you consider that you “are terribly wrong”with your translation. The Indians called their probe Mangalyaan or “Mars-craft” from Sanskrit मंगल maṅgala “Mars” + यान yaan “craft or vehicle”. The Tibetan word for Mars is Migmar also meaning Tuesday. Please check your dictionary. yaan or yana in Tibetan is “thekpa”, (not tekpa) like in Mahayana Thekpa Chenpo. Greater Vehicle.

    Nowhere is there a “Tashi” in the name. mind it!!

  4. Dear Pema Kadag la,
    I think the US gives out worker visas to Indians not to help the Indian Space program but rather to get Indian IT and scientific workers for its own profit and advantage. The fact that many such scientists return to India to work on India space program besides other things, cannot really be construed as US aid for India’s Space Program.

  5. Dorje Kyopa la,
    Thanks for reminding me that I had left out the vehicle “Thekpa” part in my translation. I will include it now.

  6. You spoke about “indigenous” know how on the part of Indian scientists when you and I know that all of the computer tech and space flight tech has always been American R&D.I have no problem congratulating Indian scientists for their space projects but just as in our case the money would have been better spent on feeding, educating, and creating jobs. And I agree with you,”cannot really be construed as US aid for India’s Space Program.”, no one needs to construe anything, one does not have to look very far to see that American tech is being brought home by Indians. Which by the way, I have no problem with.

  7. I am so happy India did it before any other Asian countries.
    Congratulations to India and thank you to Jamyang Norbu la. It’s hard to trip somebody who does actual research. Mind it.

  8. #11 Pemala,

    ” you and I know that all of the computer tech and space flight tech has always been American R&D”.

    Actually it isn’t as absolute as this. You should read up about Werner von Braun and other German scientists that went over to the Americans after WWII. They brought the technology of the V2 rocket program with them from which the US space and military programs were based.

    Every nation absorbs technology and knowledge from other nations, adds to it and passes it on. For example, the internet was invented by an obscure Englishman. But the internet is now such a pervasive global technology phenomenon that people think it originated out of Silicon Valley at the time of the first personal computers. Tibet absorbed Buddhism from India, and added to it to such an extent that most non-Buddhists think of Tibet when they think of Buddhism.

    India should rightly be congratulated in developing such an impressive and cost-effective program. This is a long-sighted vision. Who knows where India might take their program? Emboldened by this, India can develop high-tech space industries that compete with other established space programs. This means Indian high-tech jobs and high-tech support industries.

    Spending the money on feeding, education and somehow creating jobs is a noble ideal, but that is exactly what will be created by a sustainable space industry and the associated support industries. What’s the saying – give a man a fish and … teach a man to fish and … ?

    Let us hope that one day a future Independent Tibet will be the location for a Tibetan rocket industry, staffed by Tibetan scientists, launching communications satellites and space missions for the international community. A high-tech business future with a launch pad perfectly positioned on the roof of the world.

    Congratulations India. Jai Hind!

  9. First writer turned space science journalist. JN examplifies exile Tibetan who always fimd a fault with the Chinese. Lets complain, the voice is dwarfed to the size of fantasy and work of fictitious report. Well compiled report of others report with spin of manipulative politics.


  10. India send their first satellite to Mars Successfully. Only Europe had done it the first time around. It speaks volumes about Indian ingenuity and raw ambition. And it only cost 74 Million dollars compared to NASA’s Maven (672 Millions), which, coincidently arrived there just a few days before Mangalyan. Context is very important when you are looking at cost and achievement. I can already hear the verbal abuse the chinese scientists are hearing right now from the fat ass bosses.

    Now looking even beyond just orbiting planetary bodies and tugging asteroids around or even the rumored re-landing on Moon in the near future (hello China, It is already done in the 70s), it is crucially important to make humanity into at least a two planet system. It is absolutely embarrassing that ever since the moon landing, NASA has only managed to float around the earth for the next 5 decades. If the same tenacity and vision was pursued, we could already have a colony on Moon and Mars by now.

    Right now, Elon Musk has the best chance of achieving that goal. His mission to make space travel cost effective will totally revolutionize space and launch us into the next era of discovery and human evolution. He is the only one crazy enough to make his own rockets to space and successfully sign a contract with NASA. And he is right now at the cusp of achieving a reusable rocket that will reduce cost by the hundreth. And by his estimate, he should have a test launch in 2015. He has successfully managed to cut through the bureaucracy of NASA which at one time estimated that a man landing on Mars will cost upto 500 BILLION. An absolute joke when everybody was trying to latch their own pet project onto to the cost.

    If cost can be managed, then we have reputable organization like MARS direct, who have dutifully and painstakingly build a whole structure and plan for a mars colony, taking into account many facets of survival on mars, be it topography, governance, health, shelter, medicine, psychology etc. There are also thousands of people who want to go on a one way trip to Mars and be the first pioneers of a new age. It is an exciting time.

  11. The USA is the economic superpower (although its national loan includes lots of Chinese cash), so it has extra money to do all kinds of adventure, scaling the Mars or our Moon, perhaps in hopes to build a super infrastructural military base to revive and extend the (now obsolete) colonial exploration into the “Alien” lands. The Americans are ambitious, thanks to Columbus. And it has its own unique reason.

    For India and China, it appears to be squeezing the tight national budget for no immediate public benefit. The advancement of science in these parts of world must first be applied to reduce poverty, improve children’s education, and uplift the nation from third world to first world. Despite the entire economic rise in the recent years, China (the PRC) is still a “developing” country, and there is a long way to go (before it could take fancy in what Yenkies are doing). And India … mention not, sir.

  12. When India shines, it bothers NG.
    When certain things doesn’t go right in Tibetan community , it regales NG to no ends.

    What does it indicate? Why he is so passionately on this blog?

    Read all the post of NG. It flashes red with a message that says, I am a Tibetan official working in a Chinese consulate with an assigned DUTY to bash the Tibetans.

    Chinaman: everyone from U.S. to Australia to Japan to Vietnam to Philippines to India are waking up to China threat. Yes, you may have Cambodia, Laos and to some extend Nepal. But things are getting very exciting in International arena.

    To countless of Tibetans like me, we will live and DIE for India, if there is a war between India and China. And I am writing this as Tibetan- American . Jai Hind. Bod-Gyalo .

  13. An Observer…Yes I could have mentioned the Germans but their programs were stalled by fascism. The Americans are really credited with being the pioneers of modern day space flight. No..I do not see that an Indian space program will benefit anyone economically other than those who are involved. Similar to the Silicon Valley, only ones benefitting financially are those who are in the Valley and/or those merchants in real estate and luxury goods.

  14. @youngpunk:you act like immature baby.
    @fullcircle:your being migrated to a safer western counntry tells you do nothing, only thing you can do is, if possile join a 10th March protest as national uprising wich actually not a national event, rather localized to lhasa, or you will bark on JN’s ideological blog to quech your thirst.

    My question was simple regarding Tawang region: if Tibetan exiles has the guts to claim amdo and kham as part of idependent Tibbet before 1950 which were actually not, they certainly should claim Tawang as part and parcel of their erswile domain, which was their land. Isnt ridiculous to not to claim land which was not yours and not claiming land which was actually yours?
    Exiles claim they truth and truth is the only weapon, the why is this hypoccrisy? It does not reflect well on your resume!

    Fullcircle, india needs you at the border to face of PLA, go and do someting rather declaring your fake loyalty to India and psuedo “readiness”!


  15. Pema la,
    The NY Times yesterday”The Indian Space Research Organization…for years it worked in international isolation after many countries cut off technological sharing programs after Indian nuclear tests.” Even before that the Nixon administration detested India, and did everything promote Pakistan.

    Far from the German rocket program being stalled by Nazism (not fascism) there was no national rocket program before Hitler. The Nazi’s (with Werner Von Braun) created the whole V1 and V2 programs.

  16. While I do agree that the main priority for India’s government should be improving the quality of life for the population I don’t see this goal as being mutually exclusive to development of a space program.

    Historically, these programs have been very beneficial to growth of science and technology within a country, they employ people and can serve as an economic stimulus.

    It also always serves as a moral boost to a nation’s self confidence- it has done so in both capitalist America and communist Russia. A country’s economy is never separated from popular mood.

    Congratulations to India!

  17. NG a.k.a Chinaman:

    Kham and Amdo, never been part of Tibet? Yes, in your Orwellian version of History.

    You want Arunachal Pradesh now and need Exile Tibetans to back you on this ?
    Dream on.

    Patriotic Tibetans like me, irrespective of where we live are ETERNALLY grateful to India. The fact that China still couldn’t finish off Tibet after more than half a century, we owe it to India.

    If you take it in a positive way, yOu should be GRATEFUL to India too. The fact that you Chinaman have a job to fight us here on this blog, you actually owe it to India.

    You seems to be Tibetan turncoat. The ferociousness with which you are thrusting your argument indicate either your boss is breathing through your throat or are churn out of red Orwellian school. Otherwise any sane person with Tibetan blood, in his or her rational mind would ever doubt that Kham and Amdo not been part of Tibet, and want Arunachal Pradesh from free and democratic country and become part of red autocratic China.

    You seems very enthusiastic. I will help you get few more cents. Can you tell us why there is a mass movement in Hong Kong? Are they gather to celebrate and sing anthem for your ‘ great’ motherland?

  18. Little knowledge is dangerous. I dont understand why democratic india oppress kashimiris and tribes in the north east. Jai india, jai oppression, jai democracy.


  19. NG a.k.a Chinese Government Agent on duty here:

    Devil quoting scripture. You, very conveniently say : ” little knowledge is dangerous ” Oh really?

    You Chinese Agent seems very curious about Kashmiri rights in India.
    Do you know that Indian Constitution protects Kashmiri people’s rights to property?

    If you are so knowledgeable, then you should know that no Indians from outside the state of Jammu & Kashmiri can ever buy property in J & K.
    Do you know why? To protect the Kashmiri people’s right and their property.

    If Indians want, they like China – the monster that is, can easily execute ” population transfer policy ” that China – your government is doing in Tibet and Eastern Turkistan, to wipe out the native people.

    But Indians don’t. You know why? Because Indians are more civilized.

    For your own benefit, please DO NOT compare your China to great nation of India. It is like proverbial firefly comparing itself to the sun.

    And again for your own benefit, DO NOT quote scriptures to the civilized people, because you are not.

    And also DO NOT think that if good people do not rebut your argument, then that means you have won.It is, just because people know your robotic mind is filled with communist propaganda. I pity you and your karma. may be you get a better rebirth in your next life.

  20. I am pretty sure strangers asked if you a Chinese, definitely not an Indian. Even indians made fun of your Chinky looked. Civilized indians top list of rapist country, many of your exil women probably raped, they only keep it to themselves. Indian looking Tibetans are abundant and they are not sures of fathers. Probably one of your sisters on the list of being civilized by civvilized indians, only lucky thing is not burnnt as civilized indians tradition. Thank india, love you idia, arya goes on the song

  21. NG a.k.a Chinese Agent:

    You shit head, before you trash India, you better check with your master.

    I think you are trashing same Indi that your foreign minister Wang Yi came rushing as Xi (die) Jingping’s special ENVOY to pay tributes to Indian Prime Minister, pleading him not to travel to Japan.( Read the news Wang Yi is the first ever foreign official to pay tributes to new Indian Prime Minister. )

    Are you sure, you are talking about same India, that your President Die Jinging came bearing gifts, again trying fruitlessly to stop him from Obama’s friend.

    However you try to trash India, Japan, Vietnam, or Philippine, your country- China is all time winner as a mass murderer.

    Shit head, I take pity on you. But I will pray for a better re-birth for you. Did you understand the meaning of my acronym F.U. means! F.U.

  22. @fullcircle: dont use foul language, i said the truth. Where is your fictitious rangzen? My advice is, take care of your women of you are serious!


  23. NG is Tibetan. But he is a sadist. He gets off by annoying and upsetting people. There are Indian rapist but they are considered criminals. In China the state sanctions rape of other human beings with cattle prods etc.

  24. The tendency of either with me or against does not sound objective, that is a crazy attitude. Especially, when your whole enterprise of exile and its existence on so called truth, it simply undermines your truth slogans. Tawang was legitimate domain of Lhasa Government whereas amdo and large part of kham was not subject or citizens of despotic Lhasa government. The factual relationship between amdo and kham in relation to lhasa goverment is nil, there is only the superficial cultural linguisstic afinity. Yea, monasteries gets monks in the three seats just like mongolian or lhadaki monks. There were times Lhasa governent banned monks from amdo and kham depennding their political necessities. Last factor is, decent faith in Dalai lama and Pechen lama.

    Therefore, exile populace demand of complete independence is quite recent creation and illogical. Small numbers of dissent withinn rangzen group, that intends to fight for ranngzen for the people and land of pre-1959 Tibet which is the side of present Tibetan Autoomous Region is quite logical demand even if exiles cannot even fight for it.

    This is fact!


  25. We can trust neither India nor China. But if we to choose India is better bet.

    Nehru sold Tibet in 1954 aka infamous Panch Sheel pact and Vajpayee nailed the coffin in 1994 (recognized Tibet as Tibet Autonomous Region) in lieu of recognition of Sikkim as part of India.

  26. Thank You TNC.

    Stay low. Stay strong.
    China can never defeat you. But Kalden Lodroes of our society will be out there to undermine you.

    Stay united against the mechanism of enemy within. I will write a small check when I get my not very big, end of the year bonus. Thanks again for putting Tibet first before anything. Congratulations.

  27. @35 Karze,

    You seems to be right. now we have to think twice before we write anything about china and chinese. cta dont like it and dont want to hear about it. recently my friend wrote a comment on voa about the attitude of chinese toward us and our Kundun.guess what? After some time the comment is gone. My friend was totally bewildered and couldnt understand why?
    He wanted to write again but i just said to leave it but i myself still havent got over it.

  28. Sikyong Lobsang Sangay must be shrieking mad with people of Hong Kong for demanding Democracy?

    He is the FIRST Tibetan official to say that unlike people of Hong Kong, he wants NO DEMOCRACY for Tibetans ( read middle pathers)

    He is angry that Hong Kong people are fighting for what he gave up.

  29. @F.Circle: There is no secret agenda about so called rangzen so far either o paper or in action. All are braodcasted online, China dont need spend cash on rangzen advocates, because they remain on coward and empty slogans! They are not serious people, including you and your budies here.


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