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Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh In His 2.0 Avatar

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in his 2.0 Avatar and moon lights up a spirit of brotherhood.

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Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh In His 2.0 Avatar

The Narendra Modi 2.0 government has been a saga of two makeovers. One of them has been talked about. The second and quieter turnaround, is a lot more interesting. This pertains to Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh. Singh has not been known to be a sabre rattler. 

In his new avatar, however, the Union Defence Minister has asserted that India may take a relook at its nuclear weapons doctrine and that the “no-first-use policy” may be reconsidered. On other occasions, Singh has stressed that any talk with Pakistan must necessarily be on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Through these nuanced assertions, Singh has come to be known as India’s no-nonsense Defence Minister.

In his student days, Singh was associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Bidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – the student arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He later joined the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and rose to be its national president. As a BJP leader, he was made Education Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government and introduced the Anti-copying Act, touted among the achievements of the then Kalyan Singh government. He was Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, before he came to the Centre, where he was suitably accommodated in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Rajnath Singh is also known to be a politician of the Vajpayee mould. Observers find some resemblance with Vajpayee in Singh’s speeches too. But he has also remained alive to his RSS roots. Singh was the national party president when Narendra Modi’s name was announced as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.

Quite fittingly, Penguin recently came out with a biography of Singh. As Union Home Minister in the first term of the Modi government, Singh was able to contain Left-wing extremism to a great extent. As Union Defence Minister now, Singh has indicated a subtle shift in India’s strategic vision. Among the challenges that the Defence Minister is expected to address are the ever-increasing requirements of India’s forces, including increased budgetary requirements, especially in the light of an unstable neighbourhood.   — Suman K. Jha

Moon Lights Up A Spirit Of Brotherhood 

In the wee hours of September 7 and a  mere 2.1 km away from its soft landing site,  the Chandrayan - 2 moon mission’s Lander Vikram, lost contact with the orbiter and on the ground, with the monitoring system at Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu near Bengaluru. Apart from Chandrayaan 2’s own orbiter, the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is also revolving around the moon now. The NASA’s orbiter is scheduled to pass over the region on September 17.

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) too has come out to support India’s moon landing mission. The NASA is sending radio signals to the Vikram lander. Astronomer Scott Tilley, who had found the US weather satellite IMAGE considered lost in 2018, said NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) has been beaming radio frequency to the lander.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the country’s leading space agency, is also working with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to broaden the scope of research and development. Japan is developing a Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) that has an advanced pin-point landing technique –“landing where it is desired to land in accuracy up to 100m” – which has been impossible in the past. The SLIM is scheduled for a launch in 2021. 

The spirit of innovation that inspires the global scientific community obviously transcends national barriers.

— Manish Kumar Jha