By John Ensor • 02 September 2023 • 17:56
India Launch New Sun Probe.
Credit: NASA Goddard space Flight Centre/creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Is the UK’s financial assistance to India justified when the latter is investing in ambitious space projects?
On Saturday, September 2, India successfully launched its Aditya-L1 spacecraft, a mission aimed at studying the sun, while the UK continues to funnel millions in aid to the nation, according to the Daily Express.
According to data from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the UK allocated £33.4 million in aid to India for the fiscal year 2022/23. This figure is expected to escalate to £57 million by 2024/25.
The Aditya-L1 spacecraft is set to be positioned at the Lagrange point 1 (L1), a point in space where the gravitational forces of the sun and Earth neutralise each other.
After a four-month journey, the spacecraft will have an uninterrupted view of the sun and will conduct studies on its surface. The mission’s budget is approximately 3.78 billion rupees (£36 million), as reported by Indian media outlets.
This launch comes hot on the heels of India’s successful moon landing through its Chandrayaan-3 craft, further fuelling debates about the UK’s financial contributions to India.
In July, John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, commented on the rising aid to India: ‘The foreign aid debacle has been allowed to carry on for far too long.
‘Arbitrary spending targets have seen untold millions sent abroad to fund spurious projects in countries with larger economies than our own. To create a fairer deal for taxpayers, ministers should scrap the target and make aid available when truly needed.’
The question of whether the UK should continue its financial support to India, especially when the country is capable of funding its own space missions, remains a contentious issue. Critics argue that the aid could be better utilised for domestic projects or in countries with more pressing needs.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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