Exploring lunar pole jointly

Japan and India have decided to join forces in the race to discover water on the moon, with the two countries planning to try to land an unmanned rover on the moon’s south pole as early as fiscal 2023.

Frozen water is believed to exist inside craters and other areas of the moon’s poles where sunlight does not reach. The countries plan to use the rover to excavate in such areas and discover water on the moon for the first time. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have already held meetings on the project.

Japan will be in charge of launching the rocket and developing a lunar rover, while India will develop a lander for the mission. The rover will explore an area 500 meters square to try to detect water using onboard analysis equipment.

India faces water crisis

India is facing its worst-ever water crisis, a new report by a government advisory body has warned. The comprehensive study on the state of India's water warned of conflict and other related threats, including food security risks, unless actions are taken to restore water bodies.

Currently, about 600 million Indians are facing high to extreme stress over water. Ninety cities in India do not have enough clean drinking water now to sustain their populace. More than 20 cities, including New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people. Around 40 percent of the population will have no access to clean drinking water by 2030. 

The water crisis could also aggravate political tensions in the region. Eleven Indian states are locked in major disputes over river water-sharing. Scores of people have died in violent protests over a river water dispute between two southern Indian states.

India weighs in on net neutrality

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman R.S. Sharma has called for the Internet being kept open and free, and not cannibalised.

“No one owns the Internet... so, it should be open and accessible to everyone,” Mr. Sharma said, suggesting that service providers should not indulge in gate-keeping of this important platform.

The TRAI issued the much-awaited recommendations on Net neutrality and has sought to bar service providers from any discriminatory practice on Internet access.

Mr. Sharma said the Internet was an important platform for the country, especially in the context of innovation, start-ups, online transactions, government applications and the Digital India program. “So, it is important that the platform is kept open and free and not cannibalised,” Mr. Sharma said.

Japanese investment in India

 On more than 445 hectares of land dedicated exclusively to Japanese corporations, titans such as Toyota Motor Corp., Daikin Industries Ltd. and Hitachi Ltd. have clustered together to protect themselves from the vagaries of India’s chaotic business landscape.

“In India, the size of investment matters,” said Takayoshi Tokimune, the managing director of the India subsidiary for Dainichiseika Color & Chemicals Manufacturing Co. “So we flocked together.”

Japanese foreign direct investment in India has risen since the global financial crisis, reaching nearly $3.5 billion in 2016. Japan is India’s 10th largest trading partner, with the bilateral relationship worth about $14.5 billion.