The New York TimesThe New York Times

India's frugal path to global clout: breakthroughs in space and beyond

By Mujib Mashal

25 Aug 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. India's successful landing of a rover on the Moon's southern polar region has highlighted the country's scientific and technological prowess. This accomplishment was achieved with a space budget that is a fraction of NASA’s, demonstrating that resource constraints do not necessarily hinder momentous achievements.

NEW DELHI — Even during the difficult decades when India was struggling to muster resources and find a path out of poverty, its scientists were aiming high in a characteristic style: frugally and often with little fanfare.

Some of their breakthroughs, such as the nuclear tests that began in the mid-1970s, brought sanctions and restrictions on knowledge sharing that forced the scientists to become self-reliant for leaps forward. Others, such as India’s repeated success in space exploration, were followed by nagging questions of priorities: Should a nation unable to meet the basic needs of much of its vast population be focusing on the skies?

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