With ISRO scientist Tapan Misra revealing several poisoning attempts made on his life, a larger picture of foreign powers hindering Indian tech development has emerged. Let us go back in time and know the most notable instances of such.
Crux of the Matter
Who Is Tapan Misra?
Tapan Misra is currently the Senior Advisor at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He has earlier served as the Director of the Space Application Centre (SAC) of ISRO.
Why Is He In The News?
On 5 Jan 2021, Misra posted an account of several poisoning attempts made on his life on Facebook. This was done in the same month he is ‘superannuating’ (retiring) i.e. in January 2021.
His post also points to several mysterious deaths of important scientists in India in the past. There have also been several instances of foreign powers hindering Indian tech progress in the past decades as well.
Read the detailed story here: ISRO Scientist Tapan Misra Reveals Assassination Attempts On Him
US Rejects GPS Aid During Kargil
- 1999: India requested the Global Positioning System (GPS) data from the US for Kargil region as Pakistani troops occupied the region.
- US denied the request, making India realize the need for an indigenous GPS then.
- Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) was thus approved in 2006, which has been renamed Navigation With Indian Constellation (NavIC).
- India now alongside US, Russia, European Union, and China to have an indigenous GPS system.
Sanctions Due To Pokhran
- May 1998: India conducted underground nuclear tests in Pokhran in Rajasthan desert.
- US and several other nations imposed harsh sanctions against India, denying it critical nuclear and space technology.
- International sanctions also imposed after the first nuclear test in 1974.
- Severe impact on India’s nuclear development as Indian atomic reactors operated drastically below their maximum capacity owing to lack of fuel.
- India also suffered from the withdrawal of humanitarian aid by the US and other nations following it after the tests.
Interference In Cryogenic Engine Deal
In June 2017, India launched GSAT-19, a geostationary communication satellite. The launch was notable due to the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-MkIII) having an “entirely indigenous” cryogenic engine. The Cryogenic stage is crucial for the ‘extra thrust’ required by the rocket especially in the case of heavy satellites.
- 1991: ISRO and Glavkosmos (Russian space agency) signed an agreement – the latter to supply 2 cryogenic engines to the former.
- Also included ‘transfer of technology’ so that India could develop them by itself later.
- US had lost in the engine contract race – afterwards objected to the deal citing provisions of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Notably, neither India nor Russia were members of the MTCR.
- Russia, suffering from then recent collapse of USSR, agreed to US pressure and cancelled the deal.
- Russia was then allowed to sell 7 cryogenic engines to India instead of the original 2, but the transfer of technology was not allowed.
- Slowed down India’s GSLV program with no transfer of technology.
- ISRO started indigenous development as soon as the original deal with Russia was cancelled.
2014: An experimental flight of the third generation (Mk-III) GSLV having indigenous cryogenic engine was successful.
Apart from these obstacles, Indian scientists have been on the radar of malicious intents to ostracize India’s tech development. Know more about it here: Mysterious Deaths Of Indian Scientists
- Homi Bhabha was killed in an air crash near Mont Blanc on 24 January 1966. Former CIA operative Robert Crowley has claimed that the CIA was responsible for the crash. In Oct 1965 Bhabha had said that India could make a nuclear bomb in 18 months if he was given a go-ahead.
- S. Nambi Narayanan is an Indian scientist and aerospace engineer and Padma Bhushan award, winner. As a senior official at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), he was in charge of the cryogenics division. In 1994, he was falsely charged with espionage and arrested. The charges against him were dismissed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in April 1996, and the Supreme Court of India declared him not guilty in 1998.
- The Tashkent Files is an Indian Hindi-language conspiracy thriller film about the death of former Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Shastri died in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (then the Soviet Union) on 11 January 1966, one day after signing a peace treaty to end the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War.
- Facebook – Long Kept Secret
- Outlook – Poison attack on me maybe due to my RISAT work: ISRO scientist
- The Indian Express – Tech denied, ISRO built cryo engine on its own
- Financial Express – Twenty years since Pokhran nuclear tests, India has come a long way
- The Economic Times – NavIC: Two decades after US spurned India in Kargil, country replies with desi GPS