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Modi leaves for UAE on Sunday

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday.

modiDuring the visit, Modi, who will be the first Indian prime minister to visit the UAE after Indira Gandhi in 1981, will seek to boost cooperation in energy, trade, people-to-people ties, and more investments in India.

Terrorism will also be high on the talks agenda.

The prime minister will reach Abu Dhabi on August 16 and go to Dubai the next day.

On the first day, Modi will hold official talks with the leadership of Abu Dhabi and later visit Masdar City, a city project in Abu Dhabi where he is expected to spend time watching presentations, the external affairs ministry said.

Later, he will meet business people and focus on investments.

The following day, he will first visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and then travel to Dubai where, after meeting Dubai’s ruler, he will attend a grand public reception hosted for him at the Dubai Cricket Grounds.

Ahead of the visit, Modi on Thursday said in a statement that the UAE was a valued partner and the extent of bilateral ties indicate the vibrant relations the nations enjoy.

“India is the UAE’s second largest trading partner and the UAE is India’s third largest trade partner,” he said.

Modi said the over 2.5 million Indians who have made the UAE their home “contributed immensely to the progress of the UAE and also gave back to India at every occasion.

“India and the UAE are fantastically connected, be it via air or through the sea.”

He also praised the economic progress made by the UAE.

Modi said that during his visit, he will seek to enhance cooperation in energy and trade and talk to investors on why India was an attractive destination to invest.

“I am certain my visit will boost people-to-people ties between our nations. I specially look forward to meeting the large community of Indian workers based in the UAE,” he said.

(IANS)

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India Aborts Launch of Spacecraft Intended to Land on Far Side of Moon

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher

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India, Spacecraft, Moon
A spectator holds an Indian flag after a mission of Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-2, with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle on board was called back because of a technical snag in Sriharikota, India, July 15, 2019. VOA

India aborted the launch Monday of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher, Indian Space Research Organization spokesman B.R. Guruprasad said.

The countdown abruptly stopped at T-56 minutes, 24 seconds, and Guruprasad said that the agency would announce a revised launch date soon.

Chandrayaan, the word for “moon craft” in Sanskrit, is designed for a soft landing on the lunar south pole and to send a rover to explore water deposits confirmed by a previous Indian space mission.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
FILE – Indian space scientist and Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization Kailasavadivoo Sivan speaks during a press conference at the ISRO headquarters Antariksh Bhavan, in Bangalore, June 12, 2019. VOA

With nuclear-armed India poised to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, the ardently nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is eager to show off the country’s prowess in security and technology. If India did manage the soft landing, it would be only the fourth to do so after the U.S., Russia and China.

Dr. K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said at a news conference last week that the estimated $140 million Chandrayaan-2 mission was the nation’s “most prestigious” to date, in part because of the technical complexities of soft landing on the lunar surface, an event he described as “15 terrifying minutes.”

After countdown commenced Sunday, Sivan visited two Hindu shrines to pray for the mission’s success.

Criticized program pays off

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Practically since its inception in 1962, India’s space program has been criticized as inappropriate for an overpopulated, developing nation.

But decades of space research have allowed India to develop satellite communications and remote sensing technologies that are helping solve everyday problems at home, from forecasting fish migration to predicting storms and floods.

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this month, the world’s biggest space agencies are returning their gaze to the moon, seen as ideal testing grounds for technologies required for deep space exploration, and, with the confirmed discovery of water, as a possible pit stop along the way.

“The moon is sort of our backyard for training to go to Mars,” said Adam Steltzner, NASA’s chief engineer responsible for its 2020 mission to Mars.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
India aborted the launch Monday of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff. Pixabay

Seeking water on the moon

Because of repeated delays, India missed the chance to achieve the first soft landing near the lunar south pole. China’s Chang’e 4 mission landed a lander and rover there last January.

India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water. The Indian Space Research Organization wants its new mission’s rover to further probe the far side of the moon, where scientists believe a basin contains water-ice that could help humans do more than plant flags on future manned missions.

The U.S. is working to send a manned spacecraft to the moon’s south pole by 2024.

Also Read- Around 53% People Interested in Travelling to Space: Survey

Modi has set a deadline of 2022 for India’s first manned spaceflight. (VOA)